Reporter publishes new letters policy | EDITORIAL

Letters policy is meant to provide direction and transparency.

  • Tuesday, July 30, 2019 3:16pm
  • Opinion

During the coffee with the editor event I held on Mercer Island earlier this month, it was suggested that I publish a more comprehensive letters policy. It was a good idea.

And given that we’re in the thick of election season, and about to be running head first into the 2020 presidential election, it’s not a bad idea to refresh readers on our requirements for letters. This also gives us, as a newsroom, an opportunity to reaffirm how we make our decisions.

Before reading the letters policy, I would like to note what it doesn’t say.

This letters policy doesn’t say that I will make editorial decisions about letters to achieve “fairness.” Fairness is perceived, and not objective. So what do I mean by that?

First, if a letter writer voices support of an issue and uses all 300 words, that letter will run as a 300-word letter. If a letter writer voices support of an issue, but only opines for 150 words, that letter will run as a 150-word letter. Both letters were received and published.

Second, if we receive 10 letters in support of an issue and only two letters in opposition, we will run all 10 supporting letters and both opposing letters in the order that they were received. This takes the subjective decision of “fairness” out of the equation.

One last note about letters — the letters are to the editor and not to other letter writers or other readers/citizens. The letters section of the newspaper is not a forum for arguments between two people.

The newspaper issue immediately preceding an election will have no political letters. That is because there is no opportunity for rebuttal. Letters may still be published to our website to accommodate.

Our aim is to provide an opportunity for readers to submit their thoughts and opinions about coverage and other issues. In our editorial decisions, we attempt to be reasonable and transparent.

Thank you for your letters.

Letters policy

The Reporter welcomes letters to the editor.

■ Letters exceeding 300 words may be returned to the writer for revision. We strive to publish all letters.

■ All letters must have a valid signature, with a printed name, address and daytime phone number for verification. Only the name and town/community are printed.

■ We will publish only one letter per month per writer.

■ Deadline to appear in the next publication is 2 p.m. Tuesday. Because of the volume of letters received, not all letters are published the week they are submitted. Time-sensitive letters have priority.

■ Letters are subject to legal limitations relating to defamation and factual representation.

■ Letters should be submitted to the attention of the regional editor, Corey Morris, via email at editor@bellevuereporter.com or mailed to 11630 Slater Ave. NE, Ste 8/9, Kirkland, WA 98034.

More in Opinion

Mental health: One size does not fit all | Windows and Mirrors

The challenges of providing mental health services for communities of color.

Letters to the Editor, Nov. 1, 2019

These letters were not published in print.

Letters to the editor for Oct. 25, 2019

Daylight Savings Time Now that the state has decided to adopt DST… Continue reading

Does Sound Transit realize the consequences of this do-over?

Pass or fail, Initiative 976 is a reminder of what critics most dislike about the regional agency.

Professionals in a second language | Windows and Mirrors

What is it like to pursue a career in a language that is not your first?

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee after speaking with reporters Aug. 22 in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Lawmakers to governor: How dare you mess with our budget!

They want Jay Inslee to halt his planned $175 million reallocation of state transportation dollars.

Breaking barriers | Windows and Mirrors

Spending time in the outdoors has helped veteran Naomi Layco heal physically and mentally after serving in the U.S. Navy.

Mona Das
After a senator’s claim is debunked, a call for an apology

The GOP wants a Democratic senator held to account for accusations which an investigation found to be false.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file
                                Former state Sen. Jesse Wineberry (right) playfully points out Tim Eyman behind him before a news conference on initiative I-1000, on Oct. 11, 2018, in Seattle.
This political break-up couldn’t come at a worse time

As backers of I-1000 gear up, a legal spat involving others is casting a shadow on their efforts.

People from throughout the Eastside gather at the International Friends School in Bellevue for the launch of Eastside for All.
Working toward a more welcoming Eastside | Windows and Mirrors

Eastside for All has launched to focus on race and social justice advocacy.

The ethics behind reporting | Editorial

Newsroom takes a look at ethical dilemma in reporting suicides.