Our View: Keep it up, letter writers!




Over the past few weeks, we've noticed a new development and while we are not sure its cause, we are hoping it continues and even grows.


We are talking about the Letters to the Editor submitted to The Dispatch.


If you are a regular reader, you have probably noticed there are more letters written by more people about more subjects. Although we have long encouraged readers to share their views in this forum, the increase appears to have come organically. We'd like to take credit for it, but we can't.



Even so, we could not be more delighted with the new voices providing new viewpoints on topics old and new.


Until recently, Letters to the Editor had been few, most of them written by a small group of readers and often devoted to the same topics. It's no knock of those regular contributors -- some have developed something of a following -- but we are happy to see more and more new faces join the conversation.


Make no mistake, we want our Opinion page to be a forum for our readers to discuss a wide range of issues. The page was never intended to be a lecture, but a community discussion. The only way that happens is for readers to contribute their thoughts.


We certainly don't wish to confine or inhibit the discussion, but if you will permit us one piece of advice, it would be the advice that has been given to aspiring writers for generations: Write what you know.


While there is no dearth of well-crafted opinion writing on the big national topics of the day, there are often topics and issues right here in our community that won't be raised unless local readers take them up. That's important.


Few of us -- no matter how articulate we may be -- are likely to change world affairs through what we write. Yet when we write about things right here in our community, the prospects of raising awareness of an issue, engaging each other in seeking a solution and seeing the problem to its resolution is often a tangible goal. This is especially true when you write a letter with your name on it rather than anonymously. So give that some thought.


To all of you who have chosen to participate by writing Letters to the Editor, whether you are long-time contributors are recent arrivals, we encourage you to keep those letters coming.


We believe it not only makes our Opinion page more appealing, it serves our community in a meaningful way.




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