On letters: How to get your opinion in print

We are at mid-year, making it a suitable time to talk about letters.

As most readers are aware, we keep a record of every person who writes a letter to the Hood River News. That list is proudly published at the end of each year. It’s a tradition we started about 10 years ago, as a way of recognizing the people who take the time and effort to express their opinions.

If you haven’t written us yet this year, we encourage you to choose a topic you care about and send us a few words. We fill a page with names each year, but there is always room for more.

Of course, there are a few rules and recommendations around “Our Readers Write.”

First, shorter is better. Concise letters are not only better read, they are more likely to be published in a timely manner because limited space is available.

Almost any point can be made in 350 words or fewer, so this is set as an upper level for length.

(We’ve attempted to “enforce” the 350 figure in 2013, and so far most readers have complied. If a letter is slightly over the limit, we have either edited slightly or allowed them to run since space has generally been available, but the 350 limit is one we plan to get stricter about.)

Unsigned letters, letters signed with fictitious signatures and copies of letters sent to public officials are not accepted. Also, “name withheld by request” is a thing of the past at most papers, and never the case with the Hood River News.

We limit letters on a subject when we feel it has been thoroughly aired, to the point of letters becoming repetitive.

Also rejected are letters that are libelous, in bad taste or personal attacks on individuals or private businesses.

We avoid publishing letters that criticize a specific business because of a specific perceived slight or misdeed. Those concerns are almost always best aired through other channels.

Conversely, letters of thanks to businesses or organizations now are almost always published in the Neighbors column, which runs most weeks.

Finally, writers must include addresses and telephone numbers. These are for identification purposes only, and will not be published.

We want to know how to contact you, and we want readers to know the town you live in. Mainly, we want to know what is on your mind.

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