Letters are welcome

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

There is no question that the letters-to-the-editor section of the newspaper is one of the most widely-read each week.

One of the most basic functions of a community newspaper is to provide a forum for its readers to express views on a wide range of topics -- both local and more far-reaching. In that regard, we like to think the newspaper actually belongs to its readers -- the community involvement aspect is just that important.

We encourage each of you to feel free to participate in this important forum when you have something to share with others in the community (and, in our case, that community is spread across the entire United States in the form of former residents who still subscribe to the newspaper).

There is nothing any editor treasures more than a timely and interesting letter on a topic of concern or general interest.

When one really thinks about it, this is freedom of the press in the truest sense -- that each of you has the right to express your views in a public manner through the pages of this newspaper. What a great opportunity -- one that often is taken for granted.

We do have some general guidelines that apply to our letters-to-the-editor.

The most basic is that the letter must be signed and the name of the writer will be published. We believe that our other readers have the right to know the identity of each letter-writer.

In the future, we will limit letters to 250 words or less. This will give each writer ample opportunity for expression.

There also will be a limit of one letter per month from any given writer.

There will be some restrictions on letters relating to political candidates and issues. These will be addressed in a letters policy that will be published from time to time.

Finally, a policy of "no public embarrassment" will be applied to letter writers. We encourage writers to stick to issues rather than personalities. The purpose of the forum is to cause others to think about issues of general concern (though the topic need not be "earth-shaking" to be considered interesting).

The final decision on the suitability of a letter will rest with the editor.

We hope all our readers consider writing letters on a regular basis. People really are interested in what you have to say. We look forward to hearing from you.

You may mail, fax or e-mail letters. The mail address is The Piggott Times, P.O. Box 59, Piggott, Ark., 72454. The fax number is 870 598-1589. E-mails may be sent to piggotttimes@centurytel.net .