The Sunís editorial policies are printed throughout the paper, to not only allow news and information to be published in a timely manner, but also to inform our readers about the reasons we change, edit and remove what we do from the items we print in our publication.
We recently changed our letters to the editor policy, to encourage brevity, to allow a greater number of letters to be printed and to provide clarity.
The Sun will no longer accept letters that are longer than 500 words or those that are handwritten. We believe that the latter will keep us from inadvertently incorrectly quoting our letter-writers.
Come election season, we will be strictly enforcing existing political letter guidelines.
In a policy that is not new, The Sun does not accept unsigned or anonymous letters to the editor. We want to make it very clear whose viewpoint is being stated in letters and wish to distinguish between news items and our readersí submitted opinions.
The reason we are so careful to make this differentiation is because it is important to us that items we present as news be able to be taken at face value. If we cannot be seen as professionals who tell the unbiased truth, we have not done our jobs.
We, as members of the media, do not create the news. We report about things that have or will happened.
The writers here at The Sun are called upon to accurately portray complex, emotional and personal issues on a weekly basis. We complete interviews with friends and neighbors in the community and gladly give them a voice, but are careful to leave our personal issues out of it.
The Society of Professional Journalistsí Code of Ethics said that ďthe duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.Ē
I believe that those of us who put pen to paper for The Sun have an obligation to differentiate between reporting and advocating. It is not our job to judge the people we write about in our news stories or give our personal two cents about events that have occurred in our community.
Except in spaces like this.
We consistently strive for efficient, unbiased news reporting Ė when we are writing our actual articles Ė but we reserve certain spots in the paper for our personal opinions.
Just as our readers have a lot to say, so do we. We have opinions about the roundabouts in Hamburg, the new businesses in Boston, the county roads in Eden, the board members in Blasdell and the student clubs at Frontier. This is our community too, and we care about it.
That is why editorial and column spaces exist: to allow us to share our opinions with you in a space distinctly separate from our news stories.
Last week, I was asked about the ďanonymous letterĒ we had printed in The Sun. After some clarification, I discovered that the individual was referring to this column.
There seems to be some confusion about what this space is. This is not a letter to the editor. It is a space where I, The Sun editor, can share my thoughts with my readers.
Not everyone will agree with what I have to say and that is not a bad thing. I appreciate honest, friendly dialogue and I encourage The Sunís readers to respond, via letters to the editor and to communicate with us through social media and other methods.
Thank you, to those who have sent in letters, visited our website, made phone calls, stopped into our office, tweeted at us or posted to our Facebook wall. We love to hear what you have to say and we hope this dialogue will continue.
Share your opinions with us by sending letters to Editor Jessie Owen at 141 Buffalo St., Hamburg, NY 14075; firstname.lastname@example.org
or (fax) 649-3231. Visit us at www.thesunnews.net
, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheSunNewsHamburg
or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/thehamburgsun