A few years ago, I, along with four others, joined the volunteer editorial advisory board for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. As a member of this board, I have learned a lot about the operation of a small-town newspaper.

As a board, we have opined about the trivial and the important. Examples include encouraging dog owners to leash their pets (how many times have we all been directed or cajoled to do this and it doesn’t make one bit of difference). On the important side, we have sat down with federal and state representatives evaluating their rhetoric and making recommendations to the public about the endorsement of candidates.

While I argue that the readers of the Chronicle care about the editorials, there is a key question that we must ask: Does anyone really care about what a newspaper in a small town says?

Well if you and I were in charge of a newspaper, having an editorial advisory board makes sense as it attempts to connect with the community in a thoughtful way. It may be surprising, but the advisory board’s rules mandate that we come to a consensus on a topic, otherwise there is no editorial. Some people think the newspaper is too liberal. Some think it is not liberal enough. The mechanics of the board require consensus, nor unanimous support of a point of view.

On the flip side, and to repeat, if one person says nah, then the editorial is a no-go. Liberal or conservative. It is a civil discussion.

What is the purpose of such a committee? In my opinion, there is a real need for truthful, meaningful and actionable information. Your local hometown newspaper and its advisory board and employees work hard every day to bring you the facts, and a perspective on key local and state issues that you can compare to your own.

Those folks may occasionally may be just slightly more informed, which helps them make sure public policy decisions are transparent, and that we hold ourselves and our community accountable for the actions undertaken as good public policy. So read and support the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

Don Beeman is a former member of the Chronicle’s editorial board. He lives in Bozeman.