Opinion pieces and “who’s the bully”
Santa Paula Times Opinion
Published: October 26, 2012
There seems to be some confusion over the contents of the Opinion pages in the Santa Paula Times. To clarify, let’s begin with a citation excerpted from Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th Edition):
“opinion… 1 a: view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter b: APPROVAL, ESTEEM 2 a: belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge b: a generally held view”
This newspaper has recently been accused of “journalistic bullying,” with reference to “so-called ‘opinion’ articles” on the paper’s Opinion pages. We fail to find a reason for the writer’s complaint as the articles are indeed the “opinion” of the writer, sharing space with letters by numerous authors with numerous opinions of their own.
Letters and columns are indeed opinion pieces – the opinions of their writers. Articles are press releases and news stories that we endeavor to base on facts as the information is presented to us.
The Santa Paula Times has long made it a policy to run letters to the editor in their entirety, as long as the letters are presented with their authors’ names and contact information (of which only the names and city of residence are printed) and contain no slanderous or libelous statements. This policy has accounted for many letters both agreeing and disagreeing with the publishers’ own politics appearing on the newspapers pages, often at great length, and at great cost to the newspaper as they generate no advertising income.
We know of other newspapers that restrict their writers to a limited letter length, and allow only one letter to be published in a given amount of time. For now we continue to print letters as they are submitted to us, honoring that everyone is entitled to their opinion and granting free expression to those who desire to share those opinions with the community. These include letters that are critical of this newspaper’s operations, and might, in some eyes, be considered “bullying.”