The Sun responds to an avid reader

I am an Alameda resident and frequently read the Alameda Sun. I enjoy taking the paper with me to my local gym where I read the columns and opinions about our fair city in between exercise sets. I also enjoy doing the crosswords or Sudoku while I am on a cardio machine. My friends like to call it “Sudo-cardio”(pseudo-cardio), because they think I am not fully engaged in the exercise. The Sun has been one of the highlights of my week for years, please keep up the good work.

My question is about how the Sun decides which articles and columns to publish. I have noticed that on occasion I will see columns from various writers one week but not the next. Is there a specific selection or decision process involved in choosing which articles to publish? Does the staff at the Sun vote on which written pieces they would prefer to publish?  

On June 14 and 21 the Alameda Sun carried an article, “From the Trenches” by Jeffrey R. Smith, which I found very intriguing. There aren’t many public educators that I know who can teach a subject like mathematics and write in the local paper. I relish articles like these because they share a perspective on subjects that a layperson isn’t necessarily aware of.

Are writers like Smith just occasional columnists? I have read articles by him before but I have noticed that he is irregular in the Sun.


Jordan Ma

Editor’s note: Thanks for writing and being such an avid reader. I loved hearing how your friends came up with a term to describe your unique form of Alameda Sun fitness.
I am aware the community is increasingly curious about how we make these decisions. You are not the only one asking us to be clear about our letters policy, etc. 

As far as the columnists go, they write whenever they feel like it. We don’t pay them. If we have room, we print them. Jeff Smith tends to write far longer than we have space for, so quite often he submits columns that don’t end up on the page (see above). 

Our policy up to this point has always been to attempt to print as many letters as possible on a first-come, first-served basis and they are subject to editing (which could mean not printing them at all) based on legal, ethical and length concerns (see below). 

Some people have publicly decried the fact that we try to print every letter we receive seeing this as some kind of indictment saying, “They’ll print anything.” Which isn’t the case. 

We are preparing some pieces explaining how our editorial policy (and the newspaper as a whole) works like “Newspaper 101,” Aug. 9., to help explain. Good to hear from you. Write me any time.
— Eric J. Kos