Lincoln County sure knows how to make a woman feel welcome. Thank you to all who sent me emails, stopped by for a visit, and recognized me from my picture in the paper, and told me your names and a bit about your Lincoln County connections. I can’t leave the office without making a new friend, learning a bit of local lore, or hearing a compelling story.
I can honestly say I’ve never experienced anything quite like the open helpfulness and friendliness of my first 10 days at The Lincoln County News.
Now that I am settling in, my attention turns to the editorial page. Reader Scott Giguere wrote to me this week to ask if I was asleep at the wheel when I included a letter last week from Tom Ruggerio titled, “Time to really follow the science,” that suggested COVID-19 is no worse than the flu.
I spoke with Mr. Giguere by phone on Monday, Aug. 9, to ask if his letter was intended for me personally, or if he would like it to be published.
The practice of calling a letter writer to verify they sent it is a good one. That way no one can write a letter and sign someone else’s name. All sorts of trouble might ensue, and it’s best to protect a newspaper from that kind of mess.
I don’t imagine anyone would do that, here in Lincoln County of all places. But you never know. And I’m new to the community..
Just like everyone else I’ve met, Mr. Giguere was very kind when he called me back, and said he may have been too hard on me. He apologized, and said, yes, he wanted his letter to appear in print. You can read it below.
He said I could take out the part at the beginning that suggested I was not paying attention. But I chose to leave it in.
It IS my job to weed out of the newspaper factually inaccurate and misleading information. It can be tricky on the editorial page because letters to the editor are based almost entirely on the opinions of their writers.
Opinions are subjective, often fueled by emotion, and based on the beliefs of those who hold them. We all have opinions as certainly as we all have ears.
When an opinion is especially strong, you might look for evidence to support it from any source. It feels more substantial if someone on a news broadcast is saying, too. Its accuracy grows in your mind the more like-minded posts you read on social media until it feels as right as rain.
These days you can find a source to support just about anything you want to believe – facts, science, and all verifiable evidence aside.
I do not want to minimize the historic, unprecedented concerns of our time, downgrade the importance of national and state media outlets to inform the public, or minimize the value of social media as a forum for people to express themselves. It’s all part of a healthy democracy.
But what I am looking for in letters to the editor of The Lincoln County News are well-reasoned arguments, calls-to-action, and most importantly issues of local concern that impact our communities, neighbors, and families.
Your opinions matter. I am interested in hearing them. I look forward to civil debate on the editorial page of The Lincoln County News, based on thoughtful criticism and calls for change.
There is plenty of room for gratitude and praise, too. A willingness to see the best in others is one of the things I already appreciate about Lincoln County.
When you write, I – or another staffer – will be calling. Please include your phone number and the town where you live.
And thank you, Mr. Giguere, for giving me the opportunity to clarify my editorial position for readers.