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Lori Freeze 11-15-07 04:55 PM

Policies on political letters to the editor?
Do you have a policy for letters to the editor that favor/oppose a particular candidate?

If so, what is it?

If not, do you wish you had one?

Tom Larimer 12-05-07 06:05 PM

Political Letters to the Editor

This is an excellent question and I wish more would respond with their own policy/experience with letters to the editor in support of or opposed to a particular political candidate. I've actually done it both ways, and I've found life to be a lot less complicated and less stressful if you have a policy against running such letters.

For one thing, if you run one you have to run them all. Also, running such letters invites letter writing campaigns that will sometimes deluge you with such letters and hijack your letters space.

I question the reader interest in such volume of political endorsement letters, and they can certainly take up a lot of valuable space. While I would never be one to discourage letters to the editor, I think these letters are counter-productive. I would much rather run a paid political ad than give the space away to a letter writer.

I hope this helps.

Tom Larimer

Lori Freeze 12-10-07 11:49 AM

Tom, I agree with your viewpoint and we do have a policy:

Letters may be submitted on paper or by e-mail and must contain the author’s name, as well as a telephone number and address for verification. Letters will not be published anonymously. Comments regarding published articles, or opinions on topics of current interest are welcomed. Letters concerning political issues are acceptable, but letters may not be used simply to endorse or condemn a particular candidate. Priority will be given to letters that are the most clear, concise and are submitted exclusively to the Leader. All letters are subject to editing for clarity or to prevent libel. Letters should be fewer than 400 words.

I, too, wish more people would participate in this forum. It could be such a valuable resource for all of us.

Andrea Bruner 08-11-08 03:25 PM

Batesville Guard policy
Hi Lori, the Batesville Daily Guard also has a policy on political letters and it is very similar to yours. We do allow columnists much more leeway, of course.

Also, the editor reserves the right to cut off debate on any subject (such as when the writers are "beating a dead horse"). We've actually had that happen a couple times in the 9 years I have been here. One time was the standard wet-dry debate after a local restaurant received a permit to serve beer and wine. The topic monopolized our opinion page for what seemed like forever. It got to the point that the letters weren't saying anything new, and some were getting quite aggressive, almost vicious... You get the idea, so the editor put a blurb in that after a certain date, no more letters would be published.

Hope this helps.

Andrea Bruner
Assistant Managing Editor
Batesville Daily Guard

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