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Categorized | From the Editor

What constitutes a letter to the editor?

By Judy Reed

 

People love to express their opinion. And folks love to read it—and respond to it. It’s what makes our country great—the right to free speech and exchange of ideas. That’s why the Post offers our letters to the editor section called PostScripts. There has been some confusion over what constitutes a letter to the editor, or what we’ll allow. What follows is a more in depth look at what we allow and don’t allow, and what guidelines readers should follow.

First, please limit your length to 350 words. Once in awhile we might allow a longer one. But that should be the exception rather than the rule. 

We try to verify letters. Please include a phone number, and your name and address. We do not print anonymous letters. Your phone and address will not be printed, just your name and city or township. If you have some special connection to the issue you are writing about, please include that relationship. For example, a village trustee writing about a village issue should be identified that way.

Stick to public issues. Letters should concern public issues or those that come before a public body. Compliments and criticism of businesses and private organizations do not belong in letters to the editor. Neither do press releases or news stories. 

No thank you letters. Once in awhile we might print a letter from an out of town visitor that was impressed by some kindness they received while here. But other than that, thank you letters are printed on our church page, and there is a charge. Most of the time, people would rather have a handwritten note expressing your appreciation.

No mass-produced or out-of-town letters. Local opinions and issues count the most. 

We will edit—sometimes aggressively. Letters may be edited for length, repeating themes, clarity, accuracy, punctuation, grammar, etc. Keep it short and to the point.

No more than two letters on an issue. You get one letter and one rebuttal. We want everyone to have a chance to express their opinion.

Candidates should publish an ad for campaign purposes. Sorry, no free letters from candidates. And responses to published campaign ads should also be paid ads.

No negative comments in campaign letters in the week before an election. That’s because there would no chance for a rebuttal letter. Just tell people why they should vote for a candidate without tearing the other one down.

Questions? Give us a call at 696-3655, or email your questions or letters to news@cedarspringspost.com.

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