Bleeding the Black Ink

Letters -- The importance of hearing from you

One of the most important parts of a newspaper is its Opinion Page -- a sounding board, a forum, a town square of sorts in which a variety of convictions and beliefs can be heard.

Letters to the Editor are crucial in making sure that majority voices as well as the minority voices

of a community are

heard.

These letters often bring to light issues that impact a community that are sometimes overlooked by the media, government officials and the public at large.

We at the Craig Daily Press encourage readers and residents to voice their opinions on pretty much whatever they want to talk about.

Oftentimes these letters are related to stories that have run in the paper or viewpoints expressed on the Opinion page that a reader might take issue with but they aren't bound to either criterion.

While we don't constrain letters to particular topics, we do have some rules that we ask letter writers to follow.

We obviously aren't going to print obscenities.

We won't print anything that is libelous. If you make a claim that someone has committed a crime or otherwise attempt to damage his or her reputation without reliable documentation, your letter will not get printed.

Even if it is a documented fact, your letter still might be withheld depending on the motivation of the writer. If it is simply

written in order to injure, it won't get

printed.

We aren't going to print "he said, she said" complaints regarding businesses. We don't consider ourselves a Better Business Bureau. If you have a complaint with a business, you need to take it up with its management or owners.

We do run "thank you" letters but, in order to better manage space, we will not print letters that have more than 10 names

attached to them.

We also ask that letters are kept at a maximum of 300 words.

If Abraham Lincoln can cover the Civil War and slavery in the Gettysburg Address, which is only 267 word, certainly anything going on in Moffat County can be covered in 300. Once you get beyond 300 words, the type tends to become one big block of gray that may turn readers away and shorter letters are more apt to be read.

We do make exceptions when we run guest columns, which often cover complex issues by breaking them down in greater detail.

A more specific rule that we have concerns letters to the editor printed during an election. We will not run letters that endorse or criticize an issue or a candidate the day before the election.

We see this as the best way to avoid letting someone get an unfair "last word" in without the other side having a chance to

respond.

Letters are edited to conform to Associated Press style and for spelling or grammar. Parts of a letter may be removed if deemed redundant but neither the content nor the intent of the letter is

altered.

We put a premium on the letters penned by area residents and would rather run those views expressed by locals than the several form letters we receive by email and regular mail from all over the country.

"Bleeding the Black Ink" is a weekly column that aims at getting readers better acquainted with the Craig Daily Press. Do you have a question or an issue for an upcoming column? Call Terrance Vestal at 824-7031 or email him at tvestal@craigdailypress.com.

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