Letter to the Editor: Guidelines

Having something to say is one thing, but endless ramblings is another entirely. The letter to the editor section of my local newspaper is overrun by long winded tirades, left and right. It’s absurd that the grueling manifesto entitled “It’s Absurd…” tallies over 1300 words, especially because it rephrases the same point over and over again till the dead horse of an essay is beaten to a nonsensical pulp. I pine for the days when the letter to the editor section had all our letters lumped together in one section and was headed with this familiar refrain:

“Guidelines for letters

All letters must contain an address and phone number. Only one letter per week per person will be published; only one letter per person per month regarding the same topic will be published. Feather Publishing does not print third-party, anonymous or open letters. Letters must not exceed 300 words. Writers responding to previously published letters may not mention the author by name.”

Read some of the letters from the archives and then read a few from last month; they are not cut from the same cloth. Letters to the editor are an opinion or a thought, not self indulgent verbosity. Is this the type of discourse we want in this community, ranting and raving to the heavens above?


Dylan Coffman
Portola, CA

Editor’s note: These guidelines were in place when Feather Publishing had a printed newspaper, but since that is no longer the case, the word limit isn’t as important as when we needed to be cognizant of the amount of newsprint we were using. As to the second point, it’s difficult to be the arbiter of opinion versus self-indulgent verbosity, therefore the reader always has the ability to stop reading.