Opinion

Robert Ehlert: ‘Today’s Question’ asks community to provide answers

Today we’re putting out a call for some answers.

We want to engage you in an ongoing opportunity to join a conversation that we hope will take on a life of its own in a new feature called “Today’s Question.” We are going to need your help to pull it off.

On the days that our Depth section is published — Wednesdays through Sundays — we’re going to post “Today’s Question” in print and on our Idaho Statesman Facebook page.

There are a couple of ways to play along. Our very first “Today’s Question” is tailored for Father’s Day and it goes like this: What was the best advice your Dad or Father Figure ever gave you, and why?

1) Grab the paper and engage the folks who live with you under your roof, who share a table at your favorite coffee shop or who are likely suspects to gather around the water cooler at work or at the gym.

2) Go on to our Facebook page and post your answer(s) beneath the question. You can do this as an individual or as the spokesperson for your kaffeeklatsch.

We hope the community responds by putting “Today’s Question” in public view on white boards, chalk boards and marques. We’d be delighted to see places like Flying M, Java, American Cleaning Company, The Egyptian Theater, Mister Car Wash, The Village at Meridian and other business support it on their signage. We’d love it if the Boise Airport and the airlines alerted arriving visitors to “Today’s Question.”

The questions will span the spectrum from pithy to ponderous. On some days we might go deep and spin questions off issues that have been presented in the Depth section. Other days we’ll want to know something like, “Who would you choose to have dinner with if you could pick anybody who had ever lived?” On still other days we might want to know how you feel about the predisposition of wearing socks with sandals. Who does that?

We have some query inventory to get “Today’s Question” up and running, but we hope you start offering up some of your burning questions, too. We want you to engage and own this opportunity to sound off. It won’t work without you. There is no such thing as a wrong answer — though your comments will be subject to the same standards to which all of our comments must conform.

From the moment I arrived in Boise a couple years back we have wanted to launch some variation of a community question feature to stimulate conversation. Not long ago Publisher Mike Jung began meeting with an ad hoc group in the community that was considering a similar initiative. These hopes and discussions merged in recent weeks and the idea became kind of an outline about how we would produce and manage it.

To recap, “Today’s Question” launches today. It will resume on Wednesdays through Sundays until we have exhausted all of the great questions Idahoans wish to tackle. On Tuesdays we’re going to publish a sampling of some of the questions and your answers from the previous week that were posted on Facebook.

We fully expect and hope “Today’s Question” will evolve and become exactly what you want it to be. We’ll be in a “soft launch” mode over the summer and we’ll see where it goes. But we know it won’t go far without your participation.

Robert Ehlert is the Statesman's editorial page editor. Reach him at 377-6437 or follow @IDS_HelloIdaho

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