Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

The election letters are flooding in

Post by Cheryl Tucker on July 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm with 3 Comments »
July 20, 2012 4:23 pm

We’ve been running letters to the editor favoring one candidate or another for a few weeks now. Many of these will be online only – especially when we get the sense that an aggressive letter-writing campaign is under way, which has already happened this election cycle.

We try to run a representative sample, and when possible run letters together in print when they are about different candidates in the same race. That’s not always possible due to space and letter flow, but we do try.

One rule: We don’t run letters from candidates themselves. Sometimes one slips through if the candidate is running in a more obscure race, but we usually catch them.

Every year we hear from a handful of readers who say they don’t want to read these pro-candidate letters, that they consider them fluff. I’d be interested in what commenters think about them. Would you prefer to see them all online-only?

What about letters regarding ballot measures? Several will be decided in the Nov. 6 general election, and letters both pro and con start sounding a lot alike pretty quickly – especially when the issue has been on the ballot before (think fire and school levies, Tim Eyman’s two-thirds tax requirement initiatives, etc.)

We already ration the number of election letters in the print edition. But I can see us getting more stringent with online letters as well if they’re not saying something different from what we’ve already published.

Thoughts?

 

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. Sroldguy says:

    “Every year we hear from a handful of readers who say they don’t want to read these pro-candidate letters, that they consider them fluff. I’d be interested in what commenters think about them. Would you prefer to see them all online-only?”

    How about a pro-candidate special section online such as a trash bucket?

    LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
    ELECTION: Darneille has been effective
    ELECTION: Jeannie Darneille will work hard for us

    I suppose these two letters will be there all weekend?

  2. ivedunnit says:

    I don’t think you should limit these kind of letters. Why not have the TNT actually be a place where the South Sound can come together and engage in discussion?

    When I hear a media outlet say something like “… I can see us getting more stringent with online letters as well if they’re not saying something different from what we’ve already published.” I usually end up thinking they actually mean “I can see us getting more stringent with online letters as well if they’re saying something different from what we’ve already published.

  3. Dear Cheryl,
    Mea culpa. I have written letters in opposition and support of both candidates and issues. I have no objection to other opinions except when it appears they are an organized attempt to cop free ink. Usually there is a bad smell about those if one is discerning. Obviously some are “plants”, encouraged by a candidate or staff and written by folks with vested interest. But the bottom line is that the TNT must give credit to the reader for having some degree of intelligence. I know, comments don’t always read like the author has any smarts, grammar and spelling can be entertaining, but overall I believe it is the newspaper’s responsibility to provide a public forum for readers.
    And some folks just need an avenue to vent. They can’t beat their wife or kick their dog but they can pound the hell out of their keyboard.

*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0