With anything, an occasional reminder can be useful.
On an Opinion Page, letters to the editor are one area that often requires guidance.
How long can letters be? Is the newspaper obligated to run your letter? What are the rules for content?
Our owners, Adams Publishing Group of Southern Wisconsin, has set the following policy for letters to the editor:
APG of Southern Wisconsin considers its letters to the editor column to be a very important public forum. We make every effort to publish all letters, with those from persons in our readership area taking precedence.
We gladly accept opinion letters on topics of local importance. Letters must be typed or emailed, include the name, phone number and address of the author and not exceed 400 words. Letters may also be posted on the newspaper’s website.
Unsigned or anonymous letters will not be printed. Letters generally must be signed by one individual rather than multiple signatures. Letters must conform to guidelines of civility. We do not publish letters that contain personal attacks or inappropriate language or content. Letters we determine may potentially be libelous will not be published.
Personal complaints about or disputes with a business, individual or organization are not appropriate for letters to the editor. Neither are letters for promoting a business or for-profit cause.
Letters will not mention a previous letter writer by name or quote from previous letters. The letter may state that it is a response to a previous letter, which will be identified by the headline of the previous letter and the date published [date in brackets]. Letters must make a statement or opinion about the issue, not attack, argue or debate the previous letter. The editor has the right to cut off letters on the same subject if there are no new points being made.
Thank you letters, poetry, prose essays and similar topics are most appropriately published as paid advertising; letters to the editor are reserved for the exchange of public opinions.
During election season, endorsement letters must be received three weeks prior to the election (or earlier) in order to allow the opportunity to correct misinformation or provide a response from opposing candidates or groups.
While we try to print as many letters to the editor as possible, publication is at the editor’s discretion. Timeliness, space constraints and the number of letters a particular writer submits in a month are a few of the factors considered.
The editor reserves the right to edit any letter for space, spelling and grammar, without changing the meaning or intent of the letter.
The editor may decline to publish any letter for any reason, and is under no obligation to provide a reason.We ask that you keep APG’s letters to the editor policy in mind when making future submissions.