|Letter policy still requires proof of facts, figures cited|
|Written by Trista Steers MacVittie|
|Wednesday, 09 January 2013 13:47|
Every so often I find myself explaining our Letters to the Editor policy on a more regular basis, which means it’s time to remind our readers what they must do to be considered for publication.
First and foremost, we do not publish every letter we receive. If a letter is making a point already stated, beating a dead horse, in poor taste or personally attacks someone who is not a public figure, we reserve the right not to publish it.
Secondly, we require everyone — not just some people, or when we feel like it — to provide documentation supporting any facts cited.
If you don’t believe me, as some people shout at me in emails as they are trying to get their letters published, you can ask our typesetter.
She’s the one who combs through documents submitted as supporting material for facts and figures cited in letters. She’s the one who notices discrepancies between the documents and the letters or if the letter writer misrepresented the material.
Then, she calls and emails and calls again until the letter is either changed or the proper documentation is provided. And yes, you are required to provide the supporting documentation.
Despite publishing multiple editorials regarding our fact-checking policy, people still seem shocked or outraged when I ask for supporting documents. Even people who’ve been asked to provide them for past letters sometimes put up a fight.
The simple fact of the matter is no documents, no consideration for publication.
So, here again as a reminder for those who forgot, or as introduction to those who didn’t know, I present to you our letter policy.
Our Letters to the Editor section is designed as a space for our readers to express their opinions.
The policy states any facts or figures cited in a letter need to be backed up with credible documentation. Opinions, of course, do not.
Letters simply stating opinions and not citing any figures or statements deemed to be facts can continue to be submitted without supporting materials. All we need is your letter — with a word count under 300 words, full name, telephone number and physical address. Your address and telephone number are used for verification purposes and will not be printed.
If a letter includes any facts or figures it must be accompanied by documentation proving the figures are accurate. These can either be submitted by email or dropped off at our Uptown office.
Opinions based on facts, regardless of whether we agree, are welcome, and we don’t have a problem with letter writers using facts to strengthen their arguments, but the facts need to be accurate.
Form letters submitted by multiple people will be printed only once, if at all.
We also reserve the right to edit submissions and determine which letters will be printed.
Thank you for complying with our policy to ensure accurate information reaches the public.