Smile Politely

An invitation to Op-Ed

Oh, hello there, dear reader of Smile Politely. Nice to see you again. Please, stay for a moment, so we can quickly tell you about something new we’ve decided to pursue here at the ol’

Chances are, if you are still with us, you have an interest in Champaign-Urbana. And more than likely, you’ve got a thing or two to say about what goes down in these a-here towns. And that’s a good thing, because, well, we feel the same way. We’ve kept at it for well over two years now, and if there’s one thing that we’ve noticed it’s this: the more opinions, and the more suggestions, the better the dialogue.

As such, we’ve decided to make a concerted effort to court you — the person reading this very sentence — to contribute to our magazine in a wildly non-committal yet highly effective way. It’s nothing terribly novel; in fact, it’s been used for centuries as a way for publications to gauge the community opinion on the comings and goings of where ever one may be.

Yes, my friends. We’re talking about the old faithful. The Op-Ed.

Thus far, we’ve only published one. You can read it here. But the idea is pretty simple. You’ve got something to say, and it’s important. It might be something of dire importance, like say, an opinion about the state of city hall, or about the handling of a police shooting. Or, it may be something trivial, or even comical, like, a discussion regarding how and why it is that the Courtesy Motel on Cunningham is still in business. Who runs that place? And what do they have to say for themselves?

It could really be anything. Literally.

Most importantly, we want it to be from you and we want it to have heart. In the end, that’s really what we’re all about — the heart of the community. We know that we’re lacking in more areas than we can even imagine, but part of trying to plug those holes is finding new ways to reach the people. One of the ways in which we’ve found that we’re most effective, is when we’re directly asking our readership a question, and even inviting them to come on board.

Shoot — we asked for a music editor and we got two! So, it stands a chance that someone out there has something to say, and yet doesn’t want to commit the time it might take to becoming a “writer” for the magazine and wants to move a step or two beyond taking anonymous potshots in the comments.

If that’s you, say your piece. We’re really looking forward to hearing from you. Shoot us an email at and pitch your idea. 650-800 words is a good length.

— Your friends from Smile Politely

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