About our new editorial writer Jonathan Martin
I was muddling through my second attempt at my junior year in college when Duff Wilson launched one of the great crusades of Pacific Northwest journalism. In a dozen stories over six months in 1994 and 1995, The Seattle Times investigative reporter exposed the state's abysmal record of sending baby after baby to a foster home where one after another died.
The reporting echoed. The Legislature demanded investigations and transparency when a child died under the state's watch, and set up an independent ombuds. The ax of discipline fell.
Wilson's combination of reporting chops and heart set the gold standard. I've kept it in mind over the past 18 years as a news reporter in my home state. And it is top of mind as I switch over today from news reporting to a six-month stint as an editorial writer.
In a decade at The Seattle Times, I've covered a yard sale of beats and topics — from treasure hunts and bad neighbors to crime and child welfare. I co-wrote a book called "The Other Side of Mercy" about the Lakewood police officers' shooting, with fellow Seattle Times reporter Ken Armstrong. I just wrapped coverage of marijuana legalization.
I'm a kid from Eatonville, and I keep in mind the economic human cost of well-intended environmental policy. I distrust institutional power, especially when it fails to attend first to the weakest in society. My grandfather founded a thriving Christian organization, and I voted enthusiastically for gay marriage.
I'm a film geek, beer enthusiast, bike commuter, a dabbler of a cook, happy living in the thick of Wallingford with a witty wife and two bouncy kids. I've watched each episode of The Wire at least twice.
The best opinion tests prevailing assumptions, takes on the strongest counter-argument, not the weakest, and argues without equivocation. And, like Wilson's reporting, the best opinion has the force of moral imperative. I hope to persuade with well-reported facts and add constructive solutions, not just further illumination of the problems.
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
Postman On Politics