Opinion Policy


What is an opinion section?

The opinion section is a separate section of The Capital Times that features articles that express points of view and provide analysis of current events. It seeks to highlight a wide range of opinions from Madison, Dane County and Wisconsin. We welcome and encourage contributions from our readers that reflect the multiracial, multiethnic and multigenerational character of our community in all of its diversity. The primary components of the opinion section are editorials, staff-written columns, op-eds and letters to the editor. We also feature cartoons.

How does the opinion section differ from the news section?

The news section features articles on breaking events, as well as feature articles that offer in-depth examinations of major stories that matter to Madison and Wisconsin. The opinion section features editorials and columns written by members of our staff and people from the community, which present ideas and insights about those events.

What is an editorial?

An editorial is a statement of the position of The Capital Times, which is developed by our editorial board. Editorials are often based on consultation with staff members and people in the community who have expertise in the issue areas that are being discussed. Editorials take stands on particular issues and make endorsements in election contests.

Who is on the editorial board?

Retired Judge Paul Higginbotham, Executive Editor Katie Dean, Editor Emeritus Dave Zweifel and Associate Editor John Nichols are current members of the editorial board, as is Opinion Editor Steve Elbow.

What is the difference between a letter to the editor and an op-ed?

The Capital Times publishes hundreds of letters to the editor and op-ed opinion pieces each year. Letters are short; we ask readers to keep them to 250 words or less. Op-eds are longer, though we generally ask that they not exceed 700 words.

What is the policy for accepting letters to the editor and op-ed pieces?

William T. Evjue, the founder of The Capital Times, said, “Let the people have the truth and the freedom to discuss it, and all will go well.” In homage to the founder’s declaration, it’s the policy of The Capital Times to encourage vigorous and honest debate by publishing letters in our Voice of the People section and longer opinion pieces from readers representing a wide range of views, whether they agree or disagree with our own editorial positions. We don’t shy away from controversy and we encourage submissions from writers who bring a broader perspective to the wide-ranging debates that are essential to our democracy. We will strive to avoid publishing letters and op-eds that spread misinformation or repeat false narratives — especially those that perpetuate biases and inequity. We respect that everyone has a right to their opinion, but our goal is to present a letters page that is grounded in an honest assessment of the facts.