Another campaign season is upon us in Northern Michigan.
This means the newspaper will be filled with "campaign letters" from readers chastising or supporting various candidates running for office. Already I have run into a few problems with readers and candidates misunderstanding our letters to the editor rules regarding these issues. Therefore, I felt it would be good to go over the guidelines for political letters to the editor.
-- We will not accept campaign letters from candidates running for office. If a candidate wants to promote their campaign, they can do so through our advertising department. We will, however, be writing many news stories over the next several months detailing their candidate positions on the issues.
-- While we do not accept campaign letters from candidates, I will accept letters that are responding to what a candidate may consider an error in a previously published letter to the editor. For example if John Doe reader sends in a letter saying Rep. Smith never visits the area, and Rep. Smith wants to send a letter in response saying they do visit the area, I will accept it. However, if Rep. Smith starts using campaign-type wording in their letter -- such as, "vote for me, because ..." -- their letter will be rejected.
-- We accept campaign letters from supporters of candidates. I've heard rumors we don't, and those rumors are not true.
-- All letters must be 300 words or less. In order to be fair to all, we will not make an exception for anyone.
-- We do not accept political columns from anyone other than elected officials who are not running for reelection or not facing an election at this time. For example, we will not be running columns from Sen. Debbie Stabenow during these next several months because she is facing an election challenge. I will run columns from Sen. Carl Levin, who is not facing an election this year. If you would like to respond to a column we publish from an elected official, feel free to send me a letter to the editor.
-- All letters must be signed with your real name and must include an address and telephone number. We use the telephone number to contact letter writers to confirm they did, in fact, write the letter that was sent to us.
-- We will not accept political letters to the editor that come in after the Tuesday the week before an election day.
-- All letters to the editor can be mailed to the Petoskey News-Review, 319 State St., Petoskey, Mich. 49770, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about these guidelines, feel free to contact me at the above email address or call me at (231) 439-9316.
Thank you for reading the Petoskey News-Review.