Editorial: A refresher for op-ed submissions

Published: 8/26/2020 9:24:31 AM

The op-ed page is an important feature of a community newspaper in that it gives readers the opportunity to comment on issues they deem important.

Certainly, the Recorder’s readers aren’t at a loss when it comes to opinions.

Thank goodness for that.

We do have rules about submissions, which are explained at the top of this page in the paper’s print editions. But considering a number of My Turns and Letters to the Editor we’ve received lately have had a few issues, such as length, it’s a good time to review them.

First, we place a priority on locally written op-eds, which isn’t a problem from our readers, or from those people who have some connection to Franklin County, the North Quabbin area and the Pioneer Valley. Sometimes we will accept a piece from afar if the issue is relevant to our coverage area.

And that leads into identifying where one lives. We do not publish email addresses and phone numbers unless requested by the author, but we do print the community of residence. We will not run the piece without it.

We also won’t run anonymous pieces or ones with pseudonyms. We do accept pieces that are a collaboration of more than one person or someone representing an organization.

Readers have two options: Letters to the editor and My Turns. Letters are for those writers who want to make their point succinctly. My Turns are for those who want more space and words to express their views.

Each has a word limit: 300 for letters and 750 for my turns.

Those who submit a My Turn that is way over the 750 word limit are given the option to cut their piece and resubmit. We don’t take on that task because, frankly, we might remove something the writer felt was important.

We do reserve the right to edit the copy, usually for typos. If the letter or My Turn refers to a piece written by someone else, please include the title and the date of publication.

For My Turns, we ask for a one- or two-line bio. We also welcome people to send a hi-res photo of him- or herself that we can include with their piece.

Then there are rules about frequency: one person, one submission per 30 days. The aim is to keep the commentary diverse.

The Recorder certainly has its frequent flyers who abide by that rule, and we can count on receiving a My Turn from certain contributors when their month is up.

How many pieces don’t make it to print? Not many, actually. We will reject those that are libelous or those whose criticism of another writer is vindictive. Attack the issue and not the person, please.

So, what have people been writing about lately?

The hot-button issues include racism, atomic bombing of Japan, COVID-19 issues and politics at all levels. Often, we have readers responding to what others write. Then, there are those who want to give thanks or share a gratifying experience.

But without a doubt, the No. 1 topic is President Donald Trump, who generates mostly negative criticism, although there have been a couple of supporters offering praise. We welcome different points of view, especially as we approach the Nov. 3 election.

So how do you submit a piece? Email it to letters@recorder.com. (No PDFs, please.) Those who don’t do email can mail them or slip the piece into the mail slot on the paper’s front door: Greenfield Recorder, 14 Hope St.,Greenfield, MA 01302-1367. Keep in mind someone will have to type it into the system and that can delay its publication.

The editorial page is a time-honored tradition for newspapers, one that we respect. We welcome you to be a part of it.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


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