Are you interested in serving on The Press Democrat Editorial Board this fall? We will soon have an opening, and we're inviting you to apply.

Five months ago, we introduced our new Editorial Board Community Member program. As we noted at the time, the program was in recognition of our own shortcomings in terms of diversity — age, gender, geographic and otherwise — on our editorial board. It was also launched out of respect for the wealth of knowledge, experience and wisdom available among our own readers.

In response, we have been inviting members of the community to sit on the editorial board for staggered six-month terms. We have not been disappointed in the response.

Our first two members have played integral roles in helping us navigate the most recent election cycle and getting this program started on the right foot. Our first community member was Lisa Carre?, regional director of 10,000 Degrees, a nonprofit that provides college access, financial advice and other scholarship help to disadvantaged students seeking college degrees. Carre?, a Forestville resident, also serves as chairwoman of the Sonoma County Fair.

In April, we added another member: Donna Brasset-Shearer, a cultural anthropologist, instructor at Sonoma State University and longtime resident of Petaluma. A native of Nova Scotia, Brasset-Shearer, a frequent Close to Home contributor, specializes in teaching American society and culture, culture and international conflict and anthropology of political power.

The two of them have joined Sonoma Media Investments CEO Steve Falk, Assistant Editorial Director Jim Sweeney and Editorial Director Paul Gullixson on the editorial board, taking part in weekly editorial board meetings, interviews with community leaders and election candidates and assisting in the development of editorial positions.

We bring this up because it's time to seek applications for our next community board member who, we hope, will join us in early August.

This next cycle will be challenging as we will be interviewing the many candidates in the Nov. 4 general election. But let's be clear. There is no expectation that community members will be able to make every meeting.

Community members are treated as full voting members of the board, but they are asked only to attend the one Wednesday meeting each week and occasional off-site visits. Any other meetings they can make is a bonus for us.

We are looking for residents who represent various political viewpoints and come from various sectors — including education, business, nonprofits, etc. — geographic areas and demographic groups.

Elected officials and those who work directly for politically involved organizations and individuals are discouraged from applying. Our primary goal is to hear from those whose only real objective is to learn more about the internal workings of The Press Democrat, to gain insight into the community and to share a common appreciation for Sonoma County.

If you are interested in applying or nominating someone, please send a cover letter and resume to We hope to hear from you.