First, thanks for making it to this page, which is no small feat on a Sunday. The editorial page, which runs in this section on Sundays and in the California section on other days, is the one place in the newspaper where the Los Angeles Times as an institution expresses its own point of view, as formulated by its editorial board. The board, made up of about a dozen people, operates independently of the newsroom. (And, perhaps more important, the newsroom operates independently of the editorial board.)
This page is also where readers offer their own views as letters to the editor. On the opposite page (hence the name Op-Ed), we publish the views of regular columnists and outside contributors.
In the coming weeks and months, these pages will change, though our basic mission will not.
* There will be a modest cosmetic redesign.
* On occasion, board members will write, under their byline, "A SoCal Life," articles that reflect on life in this region.
* A box on this page, in the letters space, will appear some days, critiquing editorials in other newspapers.
* Analytical editorials that grapple with fundamental principles underlying a policy debate will be labeled "Framework." These will be archived on our website (latimes.com/opinion) and also in a separate outline by subject matter that we hope, over the years, will evolve into a coherent and consistent political philosophy.
* On Saturdays, you may have noticed, this page usually has a unifying theme -- say, three editorials on aspects of the weather, or France.
* "Thinking Out Loud" is an experiment in making up our minds in public. Starting with two national issues, immigration and traffic, that are especially important to us in Southern California, we will devote space in all of our precincts -- editorials, Op-Eds, the Sunday Opinion section (and watch out for a redesign and name change there!) and our website -- to exploring aspects and alternate views of these subjects. We don't have a solution, and there may not be a good one. But that is no excuse for failing to come up with the best one. We hope this process will help us do it.
* We will allow board members to dissent from editorials they disagree with -- though only once a year each. Judy Dugan has already used up her 2005 allotment with a strong rebuttal to our editorials endorsing the Republican Senate leadership's efforts to kill the filibuster
* Watch next week for the introduction of "wikitorials" -- an online feature that will empower you to rewrite Los Angeles Times editorials.
* You may see more editor's notes like this one, where we step out from behind the curtain to update you on what we are doing, or comment on some of our past editorials.
My colleagues and I also hope to be out in the community more, explaining what we do and listening to your complaints. Compliments would be OK as well.
Editorial Page Editor