Thank you, dear readers |

Thank you, dear readers

Drew Munro
Byron Hetzler | Sky-Hi Daily News

I’d like to start by mentioning how thankful we all are at the Post Independent for you, our readers. We wouldn’t exist without you. We are truly thankful for your loyalty, forbearance and fascinating stories.

And thank you for letting us know what you think. It’s always interesting to hear from readers when we solicit input from you about the content of the paper, as our new Publisher Mike Bennett has done recently.

I genuinely appreciate hearing from you, even when the input is critical (preferably constructive). But a few issues invariably arise that require clarification, so in the interests of reciprocity, I will attempt to lift the veil, if ever so slightly, on this mysterious process we call community newspapering.

Don’t shoot the messenger

A common refrain from readers is based on the assumption that, since we decide to run a letter, column or guest opinion, we must agree with the opinions expressed therein. Not so.

One reader accused us recently of tacitly condoning the ideas expressed by a columnist because we chose to run it. It was further suggested we silence this columnist posthaste as the column has no redeeming value.

In my experience, I find this intolerant sort of demand tends to emanate more often from one side of the political spectrum than the other. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’m not going to say which side.

What I will say is this: The Post Independent Opinion page is a forum for ideas, from the left, the right, the middle of the road and the outer limits. It reflects our politically eclectic readership. Short of personal attacks or opinions advocating criminal or clearly immoral activity, the vast majority of opinions are welcome.

Most readers would quickly realize we couldn’t possibly agree with all the opinions on the page were they to look at them together. But that doesn’t occur to readers in the heat of the moment when they become incensed about a particular opinion.

They vent on the nearest available “culprit” — us. In newsroom vernacular, we call it shooting the messenger. Please check your guns at the door.

Not our stories

In a similar vein, we tend to take considerable heat for some Associated Press wire stories. While we do in fact “decide” which of these to run most days, we have nothing to do with their authorship and are frequently in a position of having to run what they give us.

No matter. One reader accused us of wasting precious resources to cover the plight of illegal immigrants in the recent Front Range flooding while ignoring the hardship of blacks when Katrina struck years ago. Oh to be so fortunate to have such resources to squander. Our local staff is just that: We cover local stories and people. Rarely do we have the luxury of venturing out of Garfield County, much less to the Mississippi Delta.

Where’s my letter?

This is a frequent question, often attended by an assumption that we are withholding it because — take your pick — we are too liberal, too conservative or we don’t have the guts to publish it. Usually it’s just because there are other letters in front of it.

We tend to run letters in the order we receive them. Sometimes they appear quickly because letter volume is low. Lately, they’re taking up to a week to appear because we are receiving a large volume of them. Or, sometimes, the combination of the letters just happens to fit the space on the page — so a shorter letter may make it in more quickly than a longer one because we have the space available.

Your opinions and your patience are both greatly appreciated.

The joys of technology

Speaking of letters, we receive more than might be expected via “snail mail.” Some newspapers have stopped running letters and other items they receive in hard copy form (including that quaint 19th-century technology called the fax machine) because of the time it takes to keyboard them in.

We still run these items, but it might take longer for them to get into the paper because of the extra work involved. We love hearing from readers and will do what we can to accommodate their technological challenges. Nevertheless, we definitely appreciate receiving items by email.

— Thank you for reading the Post Independent, and keep all those great ideas about interesting people coming.

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