Editorial: Some ground rules for letters and guest columns

Every once in a while we want to remind our readers that we welcome your guest columns and letters to the editor. Even as we say we welcome them, we want readers to understand a few key points before you write and send them to us.

Guest columns are solely that writer’s opinion on a subject or subjects. The opinions expressed in a guest column are not the position of the paper, but rather the position of a writer who has taken the time to write out their views or concerns before submitting them to us.

Again, we appreciate those opinion pieces as they often reflect the views of many of our readers. We value your thoughts on a variety of subjects. Opinion pieces can range in length but work best at about 650 words. Longer can be challenging for us and shorter may work better as a letter to the editor, which are typically no more than 350 words in length.

Opinion pieces that we publish are often challenged by another reader, who may send in their own views on that topic in response. That’s fine. But only one response to a guest column is typically allowed. 

The process we follow for letters to the editor and guest columns fall along the same lines: Everything is read by an editor, who then forwards it to the copy desk. We reserve the right to edit submissions for clarity and to make changes to correct grammar, spelling and sentence structure. We don’t edit your opinions. We may ask you to clarify them, or say them in a different way, but otherwise they are the writer’s opinions.

As for your columns and letters, here is what we won’t publish: anything that is anonymous; anything that contains offensive personal attacks; anything that cites conspiracy theories as if they are accepted wisdom or makes specific accusations that are not verifiable. 

We can’t assign a reporter to fact check your column or letter, so making allegations or citing the sorts of inane conspiracy theories making the rounds on social media will not be published. We prefer letters and columns to be either emailed to [email protected], or submitted digitally on our websites.

As with all of our content, we endeavor to be fair and transparent in selecting the opinion pieces we publish, and we appreciate your feedback and insights as we strive to be a trusted voice on the news and issues that matter to you most.