Getting to the point

Posted: Friday, May 20, 2005

Legislative special sessions. Assembly tax measures. Celebrity trials.

All are current news items that seem to have the power to move Kenai Peninsula residents to pick up the pen.

A newspaper's editorial page is something that editors have taken great pride in providing readers since the early days of journalism. In the 18th century, a teenaged Benjamin Franklin used them to speak out on revolutionary ideas such as women's suffrage that were largely ignored by mainstream media of the day.

As a public forum, they can give a public voice to those who otherwise would have none.

The Clarion recently has seen an increase in the volume of letters we've received. This is a wonderful thing.

However, passionate subjects can sometimes lead writers to write lengthy pieces which, although powerful, may end up straying into subjects that aren't related to the main point trying to be conveyed.

We welcome opinions from all in the community, and make every effort to print letters in a timely manner.

Letter writers can help us achieve this goal. In order for us to accommodate as many voices as possible, letters should be kept brief and to the point.

Therefore, we've decided to impose a maximum length of 500 words on letters we'll print. In "Hamlet," William Shakespeare wrote that "Brevity is the soul of wit." We agree.

If you have something to say, keep it short and simple. You're letter will not only run sooner, but it likely will also have a greater impact on those readers you're trying to speak to.

Below are our current guidelines for letters to the editor. If you have any questions, feel free to call the newsroom at 283-7551 or e-mail us at As always, we love to hear from our readers, and we encourage them to write to us on any subjects that so move them.

All letters must include the writer's name, phone number and address.

Anonymous letters will not be printed.

The shorter the letter, the sooner it will be printed. Letters should be kept to no more than 500 words. Letters may be edited to fit the available space.

Letters that, in the editor's judgment, are libelous will not be printed.

The editor also may exclude letters that are untimely or irrelevant to the public interest.

Although short, topical poetry is considered, it is rarely used. Lengthy poetry is rejected.

Submissions from other publications will not be printed.

Applause letters should recognize public-spirited service and contributions. Personal thank-you notes will not be published.

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