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The Public Square

by Mark Peres

July 3,2004

As our readers know, we are a magazine with a point of view. We are not objective. Nor are we reporters or journalists. We are citizens with a common belief that a city is better when smart growth, density, diversity and street-level democracy are part of the mix. It’s our aim to celebrate, with a positive voice and an artistic eye, the evolution of the Center City and surrounds.

All well and good. We have been applauded for our simplicity and originality, for our independence and community roots, and for speaking in the first person in a conversational style. We are grateful for the many new friends we have made. As editor, it’s my job to insure that we remain true to our vision, and that we keep our standards high.

It’s also my job to balance consistency with the change that comes with striving to improve. Part of growing up as a magazine is allowing for the democracy of opinion within our pages that we encourage in the public square at large. Our readers should know that our writers are free to disagree on the topics of the day. As we learn more about the issues and we develop our voices as writers, gray areas and complexity are sure to follow.

One example is the difference in opinion in our magazine about the Carolina Theater. In my last column, I argued for the total restoration of the theater. In this issue, Dennis Marsoun, our senior columnist, makes his case for why money would be better spent elsewhere. The exchange represents the active dialog that is underway about the future of the Carolina, and is evidence of a small step in the maturation of Charlotte ViewPoint.

Another step for us is the photography of Paul Cotter. Paul is a First Ward resident who brings exceptional talent to his craft. Our photographs are designed to complement our content and to tell a story about Charlotte over time. We hope our pages serve as an album of our city, capturing its seasons and moods.

One more recent development has been the addition of Jill Walker to our team. Jill is a resident of Dilworth whose insights on community we eagerly anticipate.
Behind the scenes is Carolie Bartol. Carolie is an honors graduate of Hogwarts, conjuring spells and secret potions that allows us to improve on the margins.

We have our plans for the future, including a new website, and perhaps a party in the fall. We are particularly thrilled about our roster of guest columnists and our Q&A subjects.  Expect that our views will sharpen. Expect that we will explore broader topics and occasionally disagree.

As we change, core principles will remain the same. We intend to stay a place where not only the notable, but the unknown, can share news and their hopes for the city. There are many who often feel awkward with the inside crowd, but nonetheless have something to say. Charlotte ViewPoint is a platform for the cool and not-quite-as-cool to feel okay about contributing to the scene. The city belongs to all of us, to native and newcomer, to the polished and odd alike. We intend to remain positive and celebratory, serving as best we can as an example of art, opinion, new media and inclusiveness.

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