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Wanted: Guest columnists

Wanted: Guest columnists

With just a month left in the tenure of our current stable of talented guest writers, we begin the search today for a fresh set of Quad-Citians who have something to say and are hungry for a place to say it.

When we launched the contest almost a quarter century ago, we were hoping to find new and different voices from the ones typically found in newspaper opinion pages. We especially wanted writers who would write about issues that matter here in the Quad-Cities.

It turns out you were just waiting for an invitation. Throughout the years, we have been fortunate to share the work of scores of local writers with strong opinions about local topics and the ability to position a noun against a verb and make some magic.

In truth, we can't take credit for the ongoing success of this venture. It has been entirely driven by those who enter our contest every year and give our panel of judges a rich pool of talent from which to harvest five new writers each year. Please consider making a bid to join our 24th group of guest columnists.

Once again, up to five winners will be selected to serve at least six months, writing one column every five weeks. Pay is $25 per column. You can write about anything you want in any way you wish, though we cannot emphasize enough the importance of thinking locally.

In fact, those who choose topics that resonate in our river cities always have a huge edge, so if you're already crafting angry screeds against Donald Trump and the GOP, or Nancy Pelosi and the crowd of Democrats seeking to unseat the president, it would be smart to think again.

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The contest also is closed to officeholders, political candidates and political-party leaders. Remember, too, that we want more new voices, so past winners will not be considered. Previous applicants, however, are strongly urged to try again. Many writers were unsuccessful in earlier bids, but won over a new panel of judges with new columns and a fresh list of local ideas.

The usual newspaper rules apply: Don’t make unsubstantiated charges. Don’t lie. Tone matters. Criticize, but don’t demonize. Strong language and writing is encouraged, but remember this is a family newspaper.

Be fair; be accurate; be interesting. Be sure your submission is your own original work, and that it has never appeared anywhere else, in print or online.

Also, it’s your opinion, so own it. Entries written anonymously or under a pseudonym will not be judged. Neither will those that miss our midnight Sunday, Sept. 22, deadline or ones that are incomplete. So include all of these elements: A sample column of 600 words or fewer, a biography (include your daytime phone number), and a list of topics you might wish to explore.

Email your column and supporting materials to letters@qconline.com (please put "guest columnist contest" in the subject line). Or mail your packet to the Dispatch-Argus-QCOnline.com, 1033 7th St., Suite 101, East Moline IL 61244-1462. Direct questions to letters@qconline.com or call 309-757-4990.

Please take a moment to consider leading the community conversation. Then seize the opportunity to join the writers from age 12 to 80 who have made this feature so wonderful for so many years.

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