Newspapers don’t always agree on policies as to letters to the editor, especially the withholding of names of letter writers Another issue is whether to consider letters that advocate the election of a political candidate as advertising and charge the regular open rate.
On withholding of names, The Missourian has had a policy of not revealing the names of writers of letters when requested as long as the letter was signed, a telephone number was listed, along with the town where the person lives for verification purposes. We will consider not revealing the name of the letter writer in these instances. The letters by people whose names are withheld must meet other criteria, such as the letter not being libelous/slanderous; not in bad taste; must contain factual information (a judgment call by the editor); are not from a person who has a dispute with a neighbor or business (we don’t have the resources/time to get both sides except in a major, public interest case); and must not be an unfair attack on another person. Also, personal disputes between an employee and his or her employer are not published.
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