Letter to the Editor

I do not own the Douglas County Herald; I have no power to say what is published. However, as a DCH reader I do have my druthers. Those druthers were shaken by the new policy regarding “Letters to the Editor” that we saw in an article following “The Snoop” in the 29 October, 2020 edition; one letter per person per month; 500 word maximum; letters edited by DCH; DCH decides which letters to publish; author must be identified; local topics “encouraged”.

If we do not like reading more than one letter per person per month (or year, for that matter), we can ignore it.

If letters over 500 words challenges our attentive or concentration abilities, we can stop reading anywhere during the letter.

“Letters to the Editor” should never be edited by anyone except the author. That is my position.

Publishing any “Letter to the Editor” is and should be the exclusive right, duty, and privilege of the DCH’s Editor/Publisher. That is also my position.

Identity of all authors of all “Letters to the Editor” should continue to be mandatory UNLESS, in the opinion of the Editor/Publisher, there is a good reason for anonymity. 

Local Interest? Really? Which of us readers would be prepared to list our interests and ask that other subjects be exiled from “Letters to the Editor”- which of us is willing to exclude opinions of our neighbors except in cases of pickup wrecks, trailer fires and the occasional adult abusing a child?

If the number and or length of “Letters to the Editor” significantly reduces the space available for revenue-producing advertisements, the space allotted to lengthy, overly wordy, non-local articles. (“MDC Reminds Hunters of Baiting Regulations During Deer and Turkey Season”- don’t do it- 350 words +/-; “Public Gives MSHP 93.9% Approval” – non-random, unbalanced responses-350 words +/-; “What Will Gas Prices Do After the Election?”- Biden up, Trump steady – 250 words +/-; “Missouri’s Attorney General’s Office Receives Federal Grant to Continue SAFE Kit Initiative Work”- how many kits require testing?- 500 words +/-; and, sadly, even the locally written, often overly wordy, “What About This” column about the need for politicians to demand quick and accurate Covid-19 tests- 750 words +/- could be eliminated. 

If the Editor/Publisher is/ are unwilling or unable to risk the potential loss of subscriber or advertising revenue by relying on “rules and policy” to shield them from uncomfortable editorial decisions, I certainly understand. But I thought better of them.

As for me, after re-reading the Golden Words of my weekly column, and “The Snoop”, and the continuing United States of America Constitutional Amendment primer in “Notes from Hunter Creek”, Letter to the Editor is my next read each week. The more letters, the better. Ongoing back-and-forth between committed authors on a weekly basis is fun and occasionally informative not only as to subject but also as to authors. Long, of course, the more whack o the letter, the better.

If I had the opportunity to suggest changes to “Letter to the Editor”, I would dump the new changes announced and exchange all that energy for fact checking. Remind us of the truth when lies and misinformation are offered.

But, that would involve a lot of work, perhaps even an employee so assigned, wouldn’t it?