Friday, May 11, 2007

Better late than never ... not!

It never fails. In the days leading up to an election or a school board budget vote or anything else that will send people to the polls, we get lots of letters pro or con, or touting this candidate or that one. Plenty of opinions. But the letter writers share something in common: Their letters aren't going to get in the paper.

Put another way, how is it that people believe a letter to the editor arriving less than a week before Election Day -- heck, sometimes a day or two before Election Day -- will be published? Doesn't it occur to them that a newspaper gets dozens of letters a day on a variety of subjects, including elections or budget votes in four counties' worth of precincts? Don't they realize that there are space constraints? And don't they understand that letters pages are prepared in advance, particularly before the weekend?

Suffice it so say, if you want a time-sensitive letter considered for the print edition of our newspaper, we recommend its arrival at least two weeks in advance. And make it short. Longer letters have even less chance of publication, in part because they take up too much space, but also because readers generally aren't interested in wading through lengthy pieces unless they're particularly compelling.

Want to express an opinion relatively quickly? At the bottom of each story on the Internet version of the Freeman there's a "Post a comment" link. Click through and follow the guidelines and you're on.

Still want the opinion exposed in the print editions? Two words: plan ahead.


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