Funny things happen on opinion page...
November 17, 2010
I want to clear up something about a letter to the editor that appeared in this column a couple of weeks ago, though I barely have the stomach for it.
Reason being, is every single time someone has an opinion that is other than right wing, the misinformation flies. I'm afraid I may have added to that by reprinting the letter in this space on November 3.
First, the writer sent the letter via the Internet on October 21, in time for publication in our October 27 pre-election issue. For some reason I never received that email. This happens sometimes with things sent over the Internet.
When the October 27 issue was published and the only election-related letter was a very lengthy piece written by Imlay City reader John Lengemann, the writer with an equally strong opinion whose letter I never received contacted me. The writer wondered if because the opinion was varied from what I've learned is "the norm" in this area that it was barred from publication.
This is not remotely true. All opinions are welcome here as any regular reader would hopefully gather. The well-written letter was not printed because it was not received. Though it was after the election, I chose to let the writer have a voice anyway because I feel it's an important part of our political landscape, which believe it or not is not completely "cookie cutter." Everyone is entitled to their opinions, even if it is a minority one.
I reprinted the letter in this column space to remedy what I thought was an unfortunate problem. I surely wish the writer's piece could have been published right alongside Mr. Lengemann's in the Oct. 27 issue. Had it been received, that would have happened.
I did not sign the letter in this column because the writer did not know I was going to publish the letter, even though the election was over. I did not seek the writer's permission, but felt the opinions expressed needed to be heard. So I went ahead and reprinted the letter.
As it turns out, those who have taken time to respond have jumped to some conclusions. 1) That the letter writer was anonymous.
Not true. The letter writer submitted a signed letter which was not received in time for publication on October 27. Once I learned that a letter was missing, I asked that it be resent and I chose to use this column space to publish it. I did not include the writer's name because I did not discuss my intentions with the writer. This is my column space and I am basically responsible for its content.
2) That this column is some sort of "news story," "article," or otherwise not an opinion piece. I cannot stress this enough. Of all the obstacles I've encountered over the numerous years I've been here, this ranks among the most misunderstood. I have reams of scrapped columns in my "forget it" basket written in an attempt to explain this difference between columns, editorials and news stories. I never follow through with the columns because they sound so bitter and sour, kind of like I'm sounding now. And it just doesn't seem worth it. Some people simply don't care. That's been pointed out to me over and over and over and over again via letters to the editor aimed at something that's appeared in this column.
Not everyone will like what they read in this column. Not everyone will be entertained or interested. Maybe no one is. But writing this column is part of my job here and so I do it.
People who know me know that I go out of my way not to insult or disrespect anyone. Part of the function of a local newspaper is to reflect the community. In this community there are, believe it or not, people with differing political points of view.
There is one "fact" I'd like to insert, however, in case there's any further confusion. I'm an employee of the Tri-City Times, not a subcontractor. I'm the editor of the paper, which here basically means I organize things, rely heavily on veterans Maria and Tom, and write, write, write and take photos, too.
Well, I hope this has cleared things up. Please, feel free to share.
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Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.