Opinion FAQ

How do I submit a letter to the editor?
The Mail Tribune welcomes letters on any topic of general public relevance and interest. Please include a daytime phone number and address for verification. We do not print letters, even e-mail letters, without verification. We do not publish phone numbers or addresses, just the writer’s name and town.We’re interested in the comments of all our online readers, but we publish letters only from residents within our Southern Oregon and Northern California circulation area. We do not publish poetry. Writers are limited to one letter every 30 days. The 30 days are counted from the day the letter is published. Letters are limited to 200 words (150 words for thank-you or election letters). As with everything that appears in our paper, we reserve the right to edit letters for grammar, spelling and length. Editing is done very sparingly, and we will never knowingly change the meaning of a letter. If a letter is well above the 200-word limit, we return it and ask the writer to shorten it. Send your letter via e-mail to letters@mailtribune.com. By regular mail, the address is:
Letters to the editor
P.O. Box 1108
Medford, OR 97501
Fax (541) 776-4376

What is an e-vent, and how do I submit one?
E-vents are short letters of 75 words or less, submitted by e-mail only to a separate address, and are published immediately when space permits, often the next day. E-vents are intended as a way for readers to respond quickly and briefly to something they read in our paper or on our Web site. Send them to: e-vent@mailtribune.com. We do not publish all e-vents; if we receive several making the same point, we may run only one or two. E-vents making general comments on national issues are seldom published.Writers may submit one e-vent and one regular letter every 30 days, beginning the day the letter is published.

How do you decide which letters to publish?
We publish every letter we receive that meets our guidelines for length, factual accuracy and other criteria. We never reject a letter because we disagree with the writer’s opinion. Letters we don’t print include:
Letters that are libelous or use profanity or offensive language, or engage in personal attacks on another letter writer.
Anonymous letters. We will not publish letters without the writer’s name.
Letters asserting facts we know are inaccurate. If we can’t verify the truth of an allegation, we may ask the writer to provide proof.
Consumer complaints or compliments; those are best communicated directly to the business involved.
Letters involving a personal issue or a legal dispute.
Letters previously published elsewhere, or copies of letters sent to others, such as elected officials or government agencies.
Letters that are not the writer’s own work. These include “sample” letters from the Web sites of interest groups or political organizations. We want letters to be original expressions of opinion in the writer’s own words.

How long does it take for a letter to appear in the paper?
Generally at least a week, and sometimes longer than that when volume is heavy. We do use extra space for letters when we have a backlog, but it can take as long as two weeks for a letter to appear.

How do I submit a guest opinion?
We publish guest opinions on local or statewide issues written by people with some knowledge of or expertise in the topic they are writing about. The word limit is 750. Before writing a guest opinion, please send a query to letters@mailtribune.com or by mail to Guest Opinions, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, 97501 describing the topic. Often several people will propose a guest opinion on the same topic, and usually we publish only one, unless there are opposing viewpoints, in which case we can publish guest opinions reflecting those viewpoints.

Who writes your editorials?
Editorials are written by members of the Mail Tribune Editorial Board, except those published on Saturdays and Mondays. Saturday’s editorial is reprinted from another Oregon newspaper, and Monday’s editorial is reprinted from a major U.S. newspaper, usually the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal. Editorials from other newspapers do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Mail Tribune Editorial Board.

Why don’t you sign your editorials?
Our editorials reflect the opinion of the Mail Tribune Editorial Board, not just the individual writing the editorial. Most newspapers follow this policy. The names of the Editorial Board members appear at the top of the Opinion page in the print edition every day and on the Opinion home page of this Web site.

How do you pick your syndicated columnists?
We choose our syndicated columnists from among the many hundreds of columnists available nationwide. They often work for major newspapers and make their columns available, at a price, to other papers. We intentionally have selected columnists who reflect a range of political and social viewpoints, some quite liberal and some quite conservative, and others falling somewhere in between. The above holds true for cartoonists as well, although there are not nearly as many cartoonists who syndicate their work as there are columnists.


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