They say the two most read sections of a newspaper are the Letters to the Editor and the obituaries.
Let me say I would rather have you in our Letters to the Editor than our obituaries.
Over the past few weeks we have a wide selection of letters from people voicing their concerns on issues in your community.
You can still find those neatly filed by date on at pressregister.com. Click on Opinion at the top of our browser and scroll down to letters. At last count there were over 50 and they ranged in topic to city pay raises and school issues to crime and cleaning up Clarksdale.
And while you’re at it click the Most Read icon in your browser select Year and watch a Letter to the Editor come up with more than 240,000 views. Don’t tell me people don’t read Letters to the Editor!
Maybe you want to read them first and then come back to this column. Maybe you want to finish this column and then peruse the letters. I don’t really care. I just want you reading your Clarksdale Press Register.
We have had several letters over the past couple of weeks and while I don’t want to get into the details of any issues and ideas expressed, let me say they have generated a lot of interest.
Congressmen have told me that one letter to their office mean more to them than 1,000 phone calls and 10,000 Emails. Their point is when someone sits down and takes the time to pen a letter they must have something pretty important to say.
I’ve found that concept also works on Valentine’s Day, our wedding anniversary and Her birthday!
In a day and age when we shoot an Email, punch a paragraph on Facebook or deliver a tweet, the carefully chosen words from our heart mean so much more.
And when they appear in your Clarksdale Press Register they are read by your friends, those you don’t like, relatives and church members, too.
Now, some around here don’t go to church, so let me tell you the rules.
The policy of this newspaper is pretty simple.
• Letters must be truthful: There are two major rules in this business – tell the truth and meet deadlines. Just because you say it, doesn’t mean it is true. You can tell a lie on Facebook and people will believe it for the truth. You won’t do that in the Clarksdale Press Register.
• Letters must be signed and include a telephone number: I call everyone who writes a Letter to the Editor and confirm they wrote that letter and they understand their name and hometown will be included in the letter we publish. We do not publish your phone number.
• Letters should address an issue: Pick a topic that has you concerned and make a point. We encourage you to offer a solution. We also encourage you to ask others to contact you and help you with your concern.
• Letters should be brief: Many newspapers limit letters to 300 words. We don’t. Write to your heart’s content and send it to us. If it is too long, we’ll call and say it needs to be shortened. We also have an Editor who can help you say something well with fewer words. That’s what Editors do.
• We may not run it: If you curse, spit venom, threaten, lie or just rant and rave, I’m sorry, it won’t run in your Clarksdale Press Register. With over 25 years in this business I am proud to say I have never been sued. And you’re not going to break that streak.
It takes courage to write a Letter to the Editor.
It’s easy to sit at the coffee shop and think you have the answers that solve the world’s problems. Write a letter to us and find out.
It’s easy to think your social media post will change the world through 250 of your friends across the country. Write a letter to us and share your intellect with the people who really influence your world – your neighbors in Clarksdale.
It’s easy to zip off a reply on Facebook or re-post a post from someone else. Write a letter with your views and show your understanding of your world, your town and your heart.
Did I say it takes courage to write a Letter to the Editor?
So sit down the next time your heart gets heavy – or happy – and write a letter to your friends in Clarksdale. Let is sit a day or two and then drop it in the mail to your Clarksdale Press Register.
Don’t be afraid. We’ll help you with your spelling and grammar. We’ll call you to confirm you wrote it. Then we’ll publish it and watch you help change your town, your county and your world.
Floyd Ingram is the Editor of your Clarksdale Press Register. He can be reached at 627-2201, Emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, visited at our offices in downtown Clarksdale, or sent a real live letter at 128 E. Second St., Clarksdale, MS 38614.