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Letters to the Editor Policy

The Herald-Palladium encourages readers to write letters to the editor. The newspaper tries to publish all letters, although that is not always possible.

This policy defines the process used to determine if a letter is appropriate for publication and to edit letters to be consistent with The Herald-Palladium styles. The Herald-Palladium reserves the right to make exceptions to this policy when appropriate.

Letters should be e-mailed to letters@TheHP.com or sent to Editorial Page Editor, The Herald-Palladium, P.O. Box 128, St. Joseph, Mich. 49085. They can also be sent through the letters submission form on our website.

Format

All letters must be signed by individuals, not groups. Anonymous letters will not be published. When a letter is signed by several people, only one or two people's names will be used. In such cases, if the letter's context does not imply the writer represents a group, then an editor's note will be added explaining that others signed the letter.

The Herald-Palladium reserves the right to edit all letters for length, style, grammar, inappropriate content and libel. Letters sent with "do not edit" instructions will not be considered.

Letters should be brief. Writers should try to limit their letters to 500 words. Due to high volume, letters relating to candidates and issues in upcoming elections will be limited to 300 words.

All letters will be verified. Writers should include their addresses and daytime phone numbers on their letters. We will try to verify by mail those letters we can't verify by phone. Unverified letters will not be published.

In most cases, a writer whose letter is published must wait one month before having another letter published.

Content

Letters must be of general public interest. Complaints or compliments about businesses or individuals that deal with private matters will not be used. Also, we will not publish poetry or tributes to family members or friends. "Thank you" letters will be published only when they have general public interest and will face sharp editing to keep them relevant to most readers and to remove lists of businesses or individuals who donated to or supported a cause. Letters should focus on a single issue.

All letters must be the original work of the authors. Form letters will not be accepted. Letters that extensively quote other written material will be edited to keep quoted material to a minimum.

Letters to the editor should not be copies of letters sent to other parties. Such letters will not be used unless they can be easily edited to read like letters to the general public rather than to an individual.

When a subject generates numerous letters to the editor, some letters that repeat ideas made in previous letters may not be published or may be sharply edited to leave in only new, unrepeated ideas.

Letters to the editor headlines, which must meet certain space and style restrictions, are written by The Herald-Palladium. Letter writers can suggest headlines, but their suggestions will not necessarily be followed.

During political campaigns, letters endorsing candidates will be accepted. However, such letters should focus simply on issues in the campaign and the candidates' qualifications as they relate to those issues. Excessive flattery about a candidate's personal life will not be used. Candidates themselves are limited to one published letter each election cycle.