Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Letters to the editor are a vital element to any newspaper, including the Southeast Iowa Union.
Any newspaper worth its salt will encourage readers to voice their views on the issues in their communities, and The Union is no different.
We want to hear from our readers and have them participate in a hearty discourse on local issues and events.
That, however, does not mean that the letters to the editor section is a no-holds-barred free-for-all. We, like any other newspaper, have policies about what we will and will not print.
Generally speaking, we do not print letters from people outside of our coverage area, and we do not print “canned” letters that are copied and pasted for widespread dissemination.
Our policy also states that we will not publish any letters that we deem libelous, containing claims or assumptions that can not be verified using reasonable effort, that are in poor taste or offensive to the general readership of our publications.
Those are pretty standard guidelines most newspapers follow in some way, shape or form.
There are times when a newspaper will adjust its policies.
For several months now, The Union has loosened its guidelines to include letters about national issues. This has resulted in many people writing letters on a wide range of national issues, oftentimes quite passionately.
However after a lengthy discussion that involved me, Community Editor Andy Hallman and Publisher Matt Bryant, the decision was made that we need a cooling down period.
As a result, effective immediately, we will only publish letters that involve local issues and events.
Our primary focus, here at The Union, is local news. Other news outlets are great sources for national news.
This adjustment to the letter policy aligns with our priority for local content.
We want to hear our readers’ voices and opinions on local issues and events. There are plenty of other places to express one’s views on national issues and events.
While this change in policy is effective immediately, it is not necessarily permanent. I referred to this time as a cooling off period, because that’s what it is.
The back-and-forth on national issues has become contentious and, at times, nasty. While we encourage robust debate, we do not condone nastiness and name-calling.
We plan to review this policy again in early 2022 to see where things stand. At that time, it may be loosened, or it may be kept in place.
Please keep the letters coming, just change the focus to what is (or is not) happening in our own back yard.