Yes, we mean it.
We have a letters policy and we’re sticking to it.
Even during election season.
Especially during election season.
There’s a reason for our policy - we want to be consistent and fair to everyone, no matter your position or opinions.
You might not think we need to explain this, but if we showed you some of our email exchanges with folks recently, you’d see what we mean.
The purpose of our policy is to standardize our expectations for letters submissions. We have a 400-word limit because we want to make room for as many voices as possible on these pages.
We aren’t accepting generic mass-mailed letters, letters that have already been published in other outlets (that we know of), or letters from people who don’t even have a local connection to Ouray County.
Why? Because we have local issues we know our community cares about here that deserve space and attention on these pages. Who cares what someone from Carbondale or Denver or San Luis is voting for? If you don’t have a local connection, we’re not interested. They should submit letters to their own local papers. Most of these people don’t even read the Plaindealer and some of them couldn’t tell you the first thing about Ouray County.
No one else is going to save space for letters about matters of importance here in our little county. Want to write a letter about your opinion of the city of Ouray’s sewer woes? Yep, we’ll take it. Have a beef or an “atta boy” for our local governments? Yep, that belongs here. Are you upset about a never-ending pothole on your commute to town? That’s definitely local.
We serve a narrow, important niche here in Ouray County. No one else is going to do it. And because we take that role seriously, we’ve tried to make these letters pages as accessible as possible, with equal expectations, for anyone who wants to use it as a forum for ideas.
But lately it’s become exhausting dealing with folks who either ignore the policy, argue about it or think it doesn’t apply to them. We also have a problem where people are posting their “letters” on their own social media pages or local Facebook groups, and then we receive responses to those opinions before we even received the original letters. This forces us to print the original letter so people know what the response is referring to, and it gets really confusing. For this reason, we’ve added a provision stating if you’ve already published your opinion on social media, we’re not printing it in the paper.
Here are some other examples of recent difficulties:
“I know it might be a little long but I couldn’t figure out how to cut it down.”
Uh, it’s time to get out your scissors and trim your words. We know it’s challenging sometimes. In the news industry we call it “killing your babies.”
“I don’t know how anyone can get their point across in that little space.”
Ever heard of a haiku?
“This is ridiculous.”
Arguing about this is ridiculous.
“Why should I have to tell you where I got this information? It’s my opinion.”
Well, when you pepper a letter with a bunch of unverified statistics that aren’t actually true, we’re not printing that.
"I don’t live there but I come spend money there a few times a year. Why won’t you print my letter?”
Because we serve the residents and the community here in Ouray County. Please seek out your own community newspaper to print your opinions. We belong to these guys.
Happy election season, everyone. We appreciate your contributions, your understanding and your patience as we continue to navigate the insanity of 2020.