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Keep those letters coming

The Lakeville Journal Co. Editorial

One of the most interesting and enjoyable tasks of my tenure has been editing the opinion and viewpoint pages of The Lakeville Journal, and overseeing those of The Millerton News. Taking in letters to the editor from our readers and working with columnists and cartoonists with all manner of opinions has been an honor and a privilege, as I see it.

The approach for this news group is to see the news pages as what we define and fill with our writing, but the opinion and viewpoint pages belong to our readers. That is your space, and my goal has always been to give everyone their say, especially those who wish to rebut something we have written in editorials, or that our columnists have written. While facts are not in question, opinion certainly is, and I have taken the approach of retaining all writers’ voices as clearly as possible as they express theirs.

The rewards have been immeasurable. The highly active discussions taking place on our pages have informed all of us, and given us a better understanding not only of our fellow readers’ opinions, but also of our own thoughts and conclusions. Can we convince those of the opposing view on any topic to rethink their positions? All we can do is try, and it would help if we kept open and flexible minds ourselves. Such open forums also encourage us to research our own bases for opinions, and require us to defend our stances with carefully structured and supported arguments.

This makes communication in a local community weekly newspaper somewhat different from that on social media and other online comment. This newspaper takes seriously the use of potentially libelous language whether in news articles, letters, columns, or advertisements, in print or online. According to libel law, these publications are responsible for such language no matter where it resides in them.

This is why you will not see personal attacks in any letters, and any expression of fact will to the best of our ability be checked for accuracy. This forum is not one in which cavalier accusations are presented for the public to sift through. We take our mission statement to heart, which is why we print it on these pages every week:

Our goal is to report the news of our communities accurately and fairly, and to foster the free flow of information and opinion.

Thank you to all who have contributed to the opinion and viewpoint pages over the years, and to all who have read these contributions and taken part in the open discussion. My hope is that this vital part of our newspapers will continue to draw the voices of all our readers, and that all feel respected and heard when they decide they will take the sometimes difficult step of putting their thoughts out there in the papers for all to see.

The experience of being judged for one’s beliefs can be difficult to manage, so kudos to all of you who have had the courage to step forward and be seen by those who share this corner of the world with you.

Keep at it! It will only enrich our civic lives.

— Janet Manko, publisher and editor in chief

(for now)

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