Editor had key role

I read with consternation Aug. 20 that Michael Douglas, editorial page editor of the Beacon Journal/Ohio.com for the past 20 years, would retire from that role on Sept. 8. No one is irreplaceable; however, finding someone with his experience (lived during the greatest knowledge expansion in history), love of Akron and written communication, and ability to reach logical conclusions from known facts, will be difficult.

Mayors and county executives come and go, but he has been consistent. When I think of Akron, I think of the Seiberlings, Sawyers, Plusquellics, Sykes and Mr. Douglas.

I admire his enlightened environmental protection positions. Many are credited with saving the Cuyahoga River and protecting Lake Erie; his role is unfortunately overlooked.

Because of space limitations I will only highlight his coverage of the University of Akron situation. When the faculty gives the administration a “no confidence” vote, there is much blame to spread. He understands the importance of the university to the Akron area. Consequently, rather than crush the board and their appointments (he wouldn’t print my letter) he remained constructive and unbiased. We now have a new president who hopefully will work with the faculty to return the university to its proper lofty position. It has admirable polymer science, chemistry, engineering and other programs. Douglas’ patience and helpful input appears to have benefited the situation

I thank him for each draft letter of mine he let be printed and for most of those he didn’t let be printed. I have concluded that he has fantastic judgment. Good luck in the next phase of your journey.

James L. Greener, Ravenna

 

Career of distinction

Readers owe a very real debt to Michael Douglas (who retired Sept. 8) for his longtime role as editor of The Beacon Journal’s editorial pages.

Douglas has written with clarity, fairness, and thoroughness about myriad complex issues, whether that be Ohio House Bill 6 (the nuclear bailout), or responses to gun violence, or other issues of compelling interest to our community. His thoroughness, his willingness and ability to listen to and understand all sides of complex issues, and his thoughtful approach in addressing those issues in the pages of the Beacon have been critical to building an informed public. He will be missed.

I’m sure I join numerous other Beacon Journal readers in hoping that the paper’s new editorial page leadership will serve with such distinction as has marked Douglas’ 20-year tenure. Providing such a voice to help citizens understand the complex issues that daily challenge our democracy, particularly at the state and local levels, is a critical and much-appreciated role of a quality community newspaper.

William L. Winter, Ph.D., Tallmadge

 

A loss to Akron

The retirement of Michael Douglas as editorial page editor of The Akron Beacon Journal surely is a loss for the Akron community. For over 30 years he has brought thoughtful and insightful analysis to issues that impact our city, state, nation and world. Even if one did not agree with the conclusions he reached, Douglas always based his analysis on extensive research and available evidence. Not surprisingly, his ability to clearly articulate complex issues earned him numerous awards and the respect of his colleagues and the community. It is difficult to replace someone who has such a strong command of the issues and the ability to present them to the public. It is also sad to lose the voice of Douglas, who has been tireless in his efforts to elevate and promote our city and region.

David B. Baker, Akron