Monday, October 12, 2009

The letter we couldn't run

Every once in a while, a letter to the editor doesn't run in the Press' print edition because it doesn't meet our publishing guidelines. I try to post the more interesting ones in this space.

This one, from a frequent contributor, somehow appeared in my inbox weeks after it was sent in, and even longer after the original letter to which he refers was published — too late for it to run in print. However, the writer has an interesting idea:

In last Saturday's Tracy Press, I read Betty Hanson's letter about the word change that had been made to her letter. Betty, don't feel bad; I've written many letters to the Tracy Press, and most can't find their way to print without being altered in some way or another. In Wednesday's Press, I wrote a letter in about the president's trip to Martha's Vineyard. More than a word was changed, and the icing was the changing of the word "paying" to "playing."

Perhaps with the cutting of the number of days Tracy's paper is circulated, they also cut proofreading.

On occassion, the Tracy Press should let the letters to the editor be the letters sent to the editor and not the version that they ultimately end up putting in the paper. Sometimes, the letters written by we simpletons are better comprehended. If not, the Tracy Press should change the name to Letter to the Editor with Alterations!

There is also the "better-read factor." After some of the changes the Tracy Press makes, you might have to re-read the article for it to make sense.

To the editor, a plea! Leave the letters as they are and let the chips fall where they may. Allow the writers to deal with the public scrutiny. After all, it is our opinion.

While taking the writer's advice would save us a lot of time, unfortunately, it could also make the Your Voice column less-than-readable. Sometimes, extensive editing is needed on submitted marterial. But believe it or not, those editing take extreme care to preserve the intention and opinion of the writer. We just don't always get it perfect.

For the record, this 218-word letter was presented here in edited format — as the original contained no fewer than 19 grammar, syntax and spelling errors.

No comments: