Readers may have noticed that the Herald recently changed its letters to the editor policy to limit letters to one letter per sender per month. Don’t misunderstand us; we appreciate our regular letter writers. We just want to encourage more people to join in the conversation. More people generate more ideas and discussion.
When the Herald put out its first edition nearly 76 years ago, the letters section of a local paper was virtually the only place for community discussion of the issues of the day. Today, in the era of social media, some people may feel that the letters to the editor have outlived their usefulness. We completely disagree.
The proof that newspaper letter sections are still viable comes every year at election time. During the November election season and then again in February before the school bond vote, the Herald was inundated with letters for and against a candidate or an issue, much like a church that sees its pews fill up on holidays. We would love to see the same people participate in the public forum we provide year round.
We know there are opinions out there. You think your elected official is doing a shoddy job? Tell us about it. You think the new Moses Lake police car design is ugly? Drop us a line. (For the record, we think they look pretty sharp.) Got ideas about local, national or world affairs? Of course you do. We’d like to share them with the rest of the Basin.
Do you have kids who like to write? Encourage them to sound off about issues they care about. We would love to inject more youthful voices and opinions into the paper.
On the other side of the coin, maybe someone has done you a good turn and you want to thank them publicly. Or you really like how the new transit building is coming along, or want to show your appreciation for a service organization. The Herald’s letters page is a great way to accentuate the positive.
Sure, you could wedge your thoughts in between the cat photos and relationship statuses on a social media site. But with a letter to the editor, your opinion doesn’t get lost or trivialized by all the other information out there. What’s more, you can see responses from people you might not cross paths with ordinarily, and we as a community can engage in a serious discussion of the issues facing us all. It doesn’t take any longer to send us an email than to make a tweet or a Facebook post.
As the old song says, keep those cards and letters coming in. To submit a letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Editorial Board