Editorial: A letter to our correspondents
Posted on Jan 08, 2014 - 12:49 PM Printer Friendly View
We intended to do this anyway, really: but the recent letter from Paul Vanden Bout of Susan musing that some of our frequent correspondents might indeed be “undeclared members of your staff” makes it seem more appropriate.
During 2013, the Gazette-Journal printed 407 letters to the editor in its perennial Readers Write column. These came (to the best of our reckoning ability) from 260 correspondents, most of whom were individuals, with a few writing as couples or groups. Our frequent correspondents accounted for quite a few of the letters, it is obvious.
Local issues dominated the letters column with the majority of letters written. That’s as it should be in a local paper. Frequent topics which became familiar included Page Middle School, Gloucester schools, Mathews ditches, trash and litter, the environment, the local economy and encouragement to shop locally, and a huge variety of other subjects pertaining to matters large and small.
Second most popular were topics of national scope, both political in nature and regarding lifestyles. They ran the gamut from same-sex marriage to health care to gun laws, terrorism, global warming, the economy, the sequester, and President Obama.
We live in a giving community and those who ask for help are grateful. The public was thanked for its support of many good causes, some retiring school teachers, coaches and business people received tributes, and there were some personal stories of trials beyond our imagination, in which those suffering gave back a bit of their heart to their helpers.
Running last in our rough categorization were state issues. There was some commentary about the use and misuse of natural resources and the laws that regulate them; a bit of discussion about the Giftgate issues that have embarrassed Gov. McDonnell, and a few endorsements, not many, for governor and lieutenant governor in the past election.
And probably because this remains a rather small area, we miss those who have gone to their reward. Our writers expressed in nice words their sense of loss for some of our late friends.
And just like the unexpected gift that arrives in the mail at YOUR door, we too received some pleasant and fun surprises: the story of an Eagle Scout, details about landowners’ cooperation to bring back the bobwhite quail, and the report of one woman who picked up more than 14,000 cigarette butts in one year.
As we say each week, “Letters to the Gazette-Journal on any subject of public interest are always welcome.” We ask for brevity, for staying away from personal attacks, and for a real name signed by the writer with pen in hand. Address and phone number are needed too, and a sense of patience. We do manage to run most of the letters received and we assert, indeed, that none of our correspondents, frequent or one-time, are on the staff.
We hope to hear from you.