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Space and costs keep Heloise from MT

I really like reading Heloise and have read her column in other newspapers. Why doesn't the Mail Tribune carry the Heloise column?

— Myra E., Medford

Well, Myra, we at the Maudlin Tribute learned long ago we can make a handful of people happy some of the time, but we will never please the others any of the time. Yet, we do our best to find the most popular syndicated features that will incur the smallest vial of invective email and telephone calls.

Heloise, she of the helpful household hints, went away some time in the murky past. Some of the wily SYA veterans thought it was more than a decade ago. Alas, we uncovered evidence linking the Mail Tribune to Heloise as recently as Christmas Day 2005. Heloise was a regular feature in an era when the Mail Tribune had a larger Lifestyles section, but lost out as the daily news hole got smaller.

Syndicated features cost a newspaper in two ways: The cost for the feature and the cost of the space it consumes in the news pages.

Given the newspaper's tight budget for both expenses and space, said Editor Bob Hunter, we have to make choices. Every time a new element is added, something has to go away.

Past decisions, such as dropping the Bridge column, brought immediate outbursts and led to its return.

Syndicated features and columnists are continually reviewed, Hunter said.

"Most requests we get are for comics or political columnists. If you ask 10 or 100 people what features they would like to see, you're probably going to get 10 or 100 different answers."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.