IIt seems that each election year’s campaign starts earlier and earlier. Example: Not 24 hours after U.S. District 8 Rep. Pete Stauber announced his intention to run for office, I received a letter to the editor offering a reader’s opinion on Stauber . This told me that this could be a long and very contentious election year.
For this reason, we here at Star I feel it is necessary to institute our policy paid letter to editor policy as soon as possible.
As a reminder, the Star, along with its sister publications, have instituted a policy that during periods of active election campaigning, any letter endorsing or opposing a candidate, political party, or ballot measure is subject to a $25 publication fee for First 250 words, plus 10 cents for each additional word. There is no word limit for these paid letters, but the content must also adhere to our regular letter policies.
The reason for this policy was because several newspapers were inundated with organized letter writing campaigns instead of paid advertisements. The end result was that newspapers either had to dedicate extra valuable space for all these letters or make the difficult decision to omit letters.
But with the rapid implementation of this policy, some conundrums will be faced. Any regular reader of Star will have noticed that we have experienced a continuous chain of letters published on the opinion pages. Although these letters have all followed our general policies, they now fall squarely into a gray area of our political letters policy. Most of the time, these letters can be characterized as “Trump vs. Biden” in nature. However, many of them also contain general references to Republicans or Democrats.
We don’t mean to discourage these letter writers, but at the same time, by stating their perceived advantages and disadvantages of both parties, by extension, they indirectly advocate voting for or against said party, even if they don’t mention a specific candidate. by name.
Unfortunately, there is no clear answer as to whether these letters will be assessed publication fees. It will literally be on a case-by-case basis. So to all of these potential letter writers, I just ask for your patience as we all work together over the next nine months. And as always, if anyone has any questions or concerns, they are more than welcome to contact me.
BILL STICKELS III is editor of the Isanti-Chisago County Star. He can be reached at 763-689-1181 ext. 107 or [email protected]