A couple of weeks ago, we ran an editorial about letters to the editor that appear in both our print edition and online. In that editorial, we reviewed our policies for how to submit letters, the maximum word count for submissions, how often letters from an individual will be published, and our policy for reviewing and editing letters.
Since then, we heard of several claims on social media that The Daily News is “suppressing” letters pertaining to the Headquarters Road Landfill and the Cowlitz County Commissioners’ proposal to lease it. This is patently false.
But to ensure we were acting according to our own policies, we did an audit of every letter submitted in the last seven months regarding the landfill. Here’s what we found:
- Since Jan. 1, 2018, we have received 15 letters to the editor regarding the Headquarters Road Landfill;
- Of those 15 letters, 13 have already been published;
- One letter has been placed in a pending queue. The author submitted several letters — including one that was printed just days before the landfill letter was submitted — that month.
- One letter, which was from Cowlitz County Commissioner Arne Mortensen, was not published. That decision was made not because we disagreed or found fault with Commissioner Mortensen’s opinions or arguments but because it was far too long to run as either a letter or a guest editorial. In fact, it was more than double the space available for a guest editorial.
- Lastly, we currently do not have any other letters about the landfill proposal pending or waiting to be published (unless they were just mailed). Please keep in mind it can take two or three days for the letters to be processed and verified.
We’ve said this many times before, and we’ll continue to say it because it’s true: We believe the role of letters to the editor is to provide a space for as many different voices and opinions as possible. We take that role seriously.
If you have submitted a letter to the editor and have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us via email at email@example.com.