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Our View: Letters to the editor for discussion of issues

Posted: April 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Joining many other newspapers, The Signal is no longer accepting letters to the editor endorsing political candidates.

Political endorsement letters are essentially promotional devices that advertise a candidate. The Letters to the Editor section of our Opinion Page is meant for the discussion of issues. Many endorsement letters do not discuss issues; they merely point out that the letter writer supports the candidate.

Also, we have found that some political campaigns orchestrate letter-writing efforts to get as many letters to the editor published as possible. And frankly this newspaper feels it has let itself be used in these efforts. Many of these letters essentially say the same thing and we believe they don’t add value to any discussion of issues. A paid advertisement may be a better venue for these comments and we are considering some additional options to offer going forward.

So you may ask, why don’t we publish the endorsement letters that actually discuss issues? Doing that, we feel will open this newspaper up to suspicion and accusations that we are picking and choosing certain endorsements. We feel that we should print all political endorsement letters or none of them. We have chosen to do the latter.

We encourage readers to continue to send in issue-based letters to the editor as long as they meet length requirements, clearly identify the writer and are not libelous or contain personal attacks.


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