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Front Page » October 8, 2002 » Opinion » Encourages readers to share viewpoints
Published 4,396 days ago

Encourages readers to share viewpoints


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By KEN LARSON
Sun Advocate Publisher

In June, Sun Advocate staff member Rick Shaw and I decided we needed an editorial page every Tuesday. Rick and I made a commitment that we would write an editorial or a column each week.

That has been almost four months ago and we have continued to write our columns. It has become obvious to me during the past few weeks that our readers are enjoying the editorial pages and follow them faithfully. Seldom does a week go by where I don't get a call or someone stops me on the street to talk about what was on my mind.

As a result of the commitment to bring the readers an editorial page, we have also seen a significant increase in letters to the editor. People are sending in comments and opinions at a much more frequent rate and we encourage our readers to continue to do so.

I read once that news stories are the flesh and bones of our newspaper, feature stories are the spirit and editorial are the brains.

When I write a column or an editorial, I try to get people thinking or remembering by providing an analysis or persuasion. I believe one of the essential roles of a newspaper is to provide editorial leadership for the readers. It's like an open forum allowing people to comment, share, provide concern or point out problems or opportunities.

Of all the confusion and problems people still have with newspapers, the editorial page or the letters to the editor still top the list.

I wish I had a dime for every phone call I have taken where an individual cancels a subscription to the Sun Advocate because the person didn't like what someone had to say on the editorial page.

I remember an old publisher of a successful newspaper telling me once that, if half the community isn't mad at the newspaper at any given time, you are not doing your job. That may be a little extreme for a small community like Price or Carbon County, but the point is there is a place for all citizens as well as the newspaper staff members to share an open exchange of ideas, opinions and views. This is the foundation of journalism and free speech and the letters to editor as well as opinion columns are an important part of the process.

Letters to the editor are published on the opinion pages and the viewpoints expressed are those of the writer, not the newspaper. The Sun Advocate serves as the public format for the opinions being expressed or shared.

As with other publications, the Sun Advocate reserves the right to edit all letters to comply not only with space constraints, but to protect the newspaper against potential legal concerns. The concerns include defamation of character, libel and inflammatory remarks against a private citizen or business.

All letters to the editor must be signed and should include the writer's address and phone number. Although Sun Advocate does not publish the addresses or telephone numbers, the staff verifies all signatures before the newspaper publishes the letters to the editor.

Each week, the Sun Advocate receives many unsigned or anonymous letters. The unsigned letters often have good points, but they all find their way to the circular file.

Since we are in the midst of an election campaign, it is the policy of the Sun Advocate to avoid publishing letters of endorsements or containing blatant attacks on candidates and political parties.

The Sun Advocate would also consider expanding the newspaper's editorial pages and include more community forums regarding Carbon County issues.

Readers who may have an idea or feel as though their opinions or viewpoints could be part of a guest editorial or an open forum should give one of us a call and we will discuss their thoughts.

The Sun Advocate understands that many people like to check us out on the web. Each week, we ask a question on the newspaper's home page.

The address, located at www.sunad.com, provides a copy of the editorials and the questions concerning issues that affect the community.

Editorial pages are the thought-provoking pieces of the newspaper. Editorials and columns are designed to persuade, not to anger.

The editorial pages are designed to deal with public issues, not personalities.

The editorials, columns and letters to the letter help expand minds and solve problems.


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October 8, 2002
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