A goal of a local newspaper is to encourage an exchange of ideas and thoughts about issues affecting a particular municipality, in this case, the town of Milton.
A letter to the editor is an opinion. A commentary, or op-ed, is an opinion.
An editorial is an opinion. These three different items are all the opinion of one person.
There has been some confusion lately, as noted in other letters and emails received at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some letters to the editor are sent on the miltontimes.com website to webeditor@miltontimes. Opinion pieces, including letters to the editor, using the website address, are simultaneously sent to the editor.
Another person’s opinion, as portrayed in a letter to the editor, is just that: an opinion, and just because an editor may not always agree with another person’s opinion does not mean that a letter will not be published.
Recently it became clear that not all readers understand that.
The line between news and opinion has blurred with the advent of social media (or anti-social media in some instances, and yes, that’s my opinion) and its stranglehold on impressionable minds.
As such, the editorial page, which typically runs on page 6 with letters to the editor and when needed, jumps to the neighboring page 7 or further into the newspaper, will now be known as the opinion page.
The editorial, letters to the editor, and commentary will each have its own heading clearly identifying what category under the opinion umbrella they fall.
Especially since the Milton Times is an independently-owned newspaper, there is the opportunity to continue to receive and publish, with the editor’s oversight, a range of letters and commentary. Not all letters received are published or appear in print or online the exact way they were submitted.
As a Pew Research Center article (www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/10/08) notes, larger metro newspapers have cut back on the amount of space allotted for opinion pieces (editorial and commentary).
Worse, some newspapers, including the Cape Cod Times and Providence Journal, both dailies, no longer regularly publish daily editorials. This is to ensure that readers will not confuse opinion from a non-opinion news story.
Crediting readers with intelligence but not information is the preferred way to go.
Trusting readers to know the difference between one person’s opinion on an issue from another person’s opinion and in turn, know the difference between one’s opinion from an earlier factually reported news or feature event is the Milton Times’ hope and wish.
Sometimes a reminder is needed just the same.
– Lisa D. Connell