Some of our rules include:
â?¢ Letters should be no more than 300 words and must include the writer's name, address and telephone number.
â?¢ Anonymous letters will not be published. (I typically get four or five anonymous letters per month. Many times the writer makes valid points, but per our policy, the letter ends up in the trash can).
â?¢ Every letter may be edited for length, clarity and content. Any letter deemed libelous or in poor taste will not be published. (A lot of people have a hard time with this one, simply because they feel they should have the right to publish whatever they wish, not realizing that legal issues - in the form of slander and libel suits - may surface).
The Journal provides an avenue, and we encourage our readers to take advantage.
"Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing," is another on the SPJ code of ethics.
The many newspapers I've worked for have done just that, but sometimes the old saying goes, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."
I find it funny when doing a story and Joe Citizen makes a allegation toward Jane Citizen, and I call Jane to get a comment, but she isn't willing to talk. The funny part is when we run the story and Jane gets upset because we put something to the effect of, "Jane Citizen declined to comment on the case."
"Distinguish between advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two," is often a hot topic around this newsroom.
Our ad folks are always wanting the reporters to do stories on Company B when there really isn't a story to be written. They are just wanting another avenue to sell an ad. Newsrooms and ad folks have gone round-and-round on this issue.
Next week, I'll wrap up this column series on "Why we do what we do."
I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout out to my mom as Sunday is Mother's Day. It's been a tough year for my family with the loss of my oldest brother, Dannie who passed away last July. It's really been hard on mom, but I just wanted to take this opportunity to let mom know that I pray for her daily and am always a phone call away. Happy Mother's Day to my mom and all the moms throughout this great land.