Please Respect Sun’s Letters Policy

 

Recent letters to the editor have raised questions about the Alameda Sun’s policies regarding the opinion page. The Sun recently edited a letter. The writer emailed the Sun demanding that we run her original letter unedited in its entirety along with a second letter she submitted. 

She told the Sun that if both letters didn’t run exactly the way she wrote them, she would report the paper to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for violating her rights. She followed her written demands with a phone call. 

The Sun is not obligated in any way to run anyone’s letter. Secondly the Sun is in no way required to run a letter without editing it. Most, sometimes all, letters seen on the Sun’s opinion page have been edited, mostly for clarity. Thirdly, the FCC has absolutely nothing to do with the newspaper industry. Finally, people who threaten this newspaper in any way will never see their letters appear on our pages. 

If letter writers want to see their letters appear exactly as they wrote them, they are welcome to buy an advertisement. However these letters, even if paid for, must meet three hard-and-fast rules: 

  • No personal attacks 
  • No attacks on the homeless or those suffering from the diseases of drug addiction or alcoholism
  • No false claims or fabrications. 

Recent letters received by the Sun have disparaged individuals or groups of people. Current favorite targets: Alameda Point Collaborative (APC) executive Doug Biggs and the homeless. Some writers also target those suffering from the diseases of drug addiction and alcoholism. 

The Sun will also discard letters with fabrications that distort the facts. 

In addition the Sun will not take directions from letter writers. We publish our letters fairly: “first in, first on the page.” 

The Sun does not publish letters by subject matter. Two weeks ago, the paper received a letter about the cannabis issue on Webster Street. The writer told the Sun to publish his letter in the March 7 edition. “This is very important,” the letter writer stated because the missive pertained to an upcoming Planning Board meeting. The letter did not appear in the Sun

To guarantee something appears in the Sun on a particular date, an appropriate amount of space must be reserved and paid for in advance. 

Many, too many, letters state opinions as facts, with no mention of what the other side says. The Sun may choose to run these, but will pepper them with phrases like, “In my opinion” and “I think that.”  

Some writers like to disguise their opinions with cliché phrases. “It is argued that …,”; “It has been said that …”; and “we all agree that …” are just three of the favorite ways to introduce opinions. 

The Sun also receives “mind-reader” letters. For example, one letter writer stated that while Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft was speaking in support of Measure A, “You could see in her eyes that she didn’t believe this to be a good idea.” 

Letter writers must realize that the Alameda Sun has ways to “fix” letters written with attacks and fabrication and, as it says in the box that appears to the right each week, reserves the right to edit each and every letter received. 

Dennis Evanosky co-publishes the Alameda Sun with Eric J. Kos.