Letters to the editor are a hallmark of this newspaper, and an opportunity many in the community appreciate. While we may not always agree with what is written on these pages, we respect a diverse set of opinions.
In today’s world of social media, people are often hit with messages that may reinforce their own beliefs, resulting in their isolation in an echo chamber that confirms personal truths. That makes it tricky for a community newspaper. Or maybe it’s tricky for you. Because you will be exposed to different opinions on our editorial pages.
Ensuring an open forum for the community to share their ideas, beliefs, and opinions is important, and we want to hold space for it. And it means being exposed to ideas, beliefs, and opinions that might be different from your own.
Back on Jan. 6, we published an editorial letting you know we would be reviewing our letters-to-the-editor policy.
Ten weeks ago letters to the editor spanned two whole pages of the editorial section and many called out names along with their difference of opinion.
There was preponderance of letters wrestling with global, national, and state issues to the exclusion of county concerns.
Except for a deluge of letters (over 40) from Alna ahead of its special town meeting that would have changed the structure of the select board in December, letters that featured county and community concerns were few and far between.
We heard from a lot of people who wished to share privately their thoughts about what we publish on the editorial pages.
Many supported limits on letters that are inflammatory.
Others were outraged that we would do such a thing as exercise our right to reject letters for any reason at all.
Over the last 10 weeks, we also observed how the editorial pages shake out when we reject letters like the ones just described.
Much of the policy will remain the same, and we will ensure it is implemented fairly and transparently. The full policy is on our website and will run on a regular basis on the editorial page.
There are some significant changes.
Letter writers will be limited to two letters a month.
We will prioritize letters that focus on Lincoln County issues, or clearly link global, national, and state issues to Lincoln County in a meaningful way. We don’t want to become our own echo chamber, so we will occasionally consider other letters, if space is available.
While civility has been part of the policy for quite some time, it will be enforced more clearly, meaning name calling and demeaning statements will not be published.
Letters to the editor policy
The Lincoln County News welcomes and encourages civil and respectful dialogue about current events through letters to the editor.
Priority will be given to letters that consider local issues or concerns. Letters that express national and state issues should provide a link or impact to Lincoln County.
Please limit letters to 500 words or less, and send no more than two letters a month.
General letters of thanks are acceptable. For letters of thanks for individuals or entities, please contact the advertising department.
Letters will be edited for grammar, punctuation, and clarity.
The Lincoln County News will not publish letters that contain hate speech, personal attacks, or name calling; promotions or sales; letters that are not directed to the editor; or information that could cause harm.
The Lincoln County News reserves the right to reject letters for any reason.
All submissions must include the writer’s name and town of residence for publication, and a phone number (not for publication).
Letters should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred), submitted through LCNme.com, faxed to 563-3127, or mailed to P.O. Box 36, Damariscotta, ME 04543.