Readers often ask, “How do you decide which letters to print?”
It’s a good question, but the answer is that it is not so much a decision as a process.
Most every letter makes it in.
It comes down to three things, all of them in the hands of the writers themselves: Did you attach your name and a phone number? Does the letter avoid willfully incorrect or malicious content? Is the letter 350 words or fewer? Do all those things and you’re pretty much assured of getting it printed. No elimination is done based on topic or point of view, although we do reserve the right to select from similar letters on a given topic, for space reasons.
In every issue of the Hood River News, the “Our Readers Write” column is a vital part of the community forum.
Hood River News reminds writers that shorter is better. Concise letters are not only better-read; they are more likely to be published 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.
Thank-you letters are in nearly every case placed in the Neighbors column.
(We put this message out occasionally, but the reality is that numerous letters in recent weeks have exceeded 500 or so words. The word limit is a requirement we are playing closer attention to all the time, so we ask that writers do their best to follow it.)
We do not print unsigned or “Name Withheld by Request” letters, nor those signed with fictitious signatures. Copied letters sent to public officials also are not published.
We limit letters on a subject when we feel it has been thoroughly aired, to the point of letters becoming repetitive.
This is especially the case during campaign seasons.
Also rejected are letters that are libelous, in bad taste or personal attacks on individuals or private businesses. Writers must include addresses and telephone numbers. These are for identification purposes only, and will not be published.
Meanwhile, we’re compiling our annual list of all the year’s letter writers, for publication in late December; the more the merrier.