Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Letters to the Editor Policy

We've had a lot of back and forth here at BlogaBarbara about the News-Press having a letters to the editor policy that seems to promote specific candidates during election time. Some of us agree with this state of affairs, some of us do not.

The very pro-The Guzz letter today in the News-Press made me think about this issue again as I realized I haven't really been checking the letters everyday to see if there is equal treatment to other candidates. This letter of course supported Armstrong's position of it being okay to equate urinating and development cause The Guzz telling it like it is.

What would you do? If you print one positive letter for a specific candidate, should others enjoy space as well in equal parts assuming the letters are coming in? OR, should it be editorial policy to print more letters that support your stated opinions because that backs you up? Does the News-Press have a moral imperative to print an equal amount of letters that are against their stated opinions? Is that what journalism really is?

I've been thinking about this in relation to comments left here at BlogaBarbara -- especially when someone thinks deleting unsavory comments or ones that are seriously off topic is censorship like this is a space where everything goes...I often think we have more diversity of opinion here than I've seen in the letters section of the News-Press. What would you do if you were Travis Armstrong?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

a moral imperative? an oxymoron for the current publishers/editors of the newspress. the paper esp its editorial page is already a laughing stock

3/18/2006 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Travis picks letters to fit his beliefs not to be fair. Never has the News Press been so biased and the editorial page so wacked.

Travis ignores or insults those with a contrary view.

Having been on both sides it is clear he favors his point of view as anything on the other side is a "campaign" and the "campaign" in agreement of his opinion is a "movement."

And you have the perfect right to edit and remove post, sometimes even mine! Makes this a better blog.

3/18/2006 12:13 PM  
Blogger john san roque said...

I have been critical of the NP editorial pages in the past, including the letters to the editor. I don't think the letters to the editor should be chosen either to support or to criticize the NP editorial positions.

The letters published should reflect proportionately, in quantity and content, the sentiment of the letters received by the paper. They should not be selected, rejected, or edited based on the editorial position of the paper.

The editor uses his regular editorial column and also has an added opinion column to support his positions. That's really enough space to make one's point. The letters section should accurately reflect community input. It's not another tool for the editor to use to sway opinion. If the letters published don't represent the overall sense of the writers, what's the point of having them?

3/18/2006 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Valerio said...

One usually thinks that a batch of letters to editor about a specific theme, which today is housing, should not include letters about an obviously different theme as editorial topics go, which today was to promote The Guzz as a candidate.

The Newspress editorials and selective publishing of letters obviously are biased and make them severely lose credibility when the editorials and contributions actually have merit, which really is half the time. But because half of it all is wacko, most readers do not know the differences.

But again, the perpetual fretting about the Newspress here at Blogabarbara continues to dissapoint. Plenty of other local news media exist locally as inspiration for subject postings here. TV, blogs, 4 other newspapers, city and county reports, etc. etc.

3/18/2006 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wait, has not there been a series of letters attacking travis over his column on clergy involved in the politics. There have been 4 or 5 going after Travis personally for his column, some by clerby - guys, this has all been in the past week.
Also the NP has endorsed anyone.

3/19/2006 3:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's pretty clear that "sara" thinks it ok to delete posts because of standards, but the news-press can't because of standards ... when of course the news-press could be sued if publishes some commments while this site cant and it STILL deletes them because sara doesn't like them.
Sara can't handle it. Deletes what he/she wants but still can't let go of Travis.
And what about the Indy which reject 90 percent of the letters it gets.

3/19/2006 3:05 AM  
Anonymous Vasi de Ste. Barbara said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/19/2006 3:06 AM  
Anonymous Vasi de Ste. Barbara said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/19/2006 3:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/19/2006 3:08 AM  
Blogger john san roque said...

Several times when I have written to this blog, some person has replied to my writing and used some variation of my real name (not my blog name)in the response. I guess this person is able to find out something through my username (johnsanroque) that allows him to find out my real name. His two identical posts just above at 3:06 under "vasi de Ste Barbara" use part of my name. Let's not make this so difficult for him. My name is John Vasi. I live in Santa Barbara. I have no need or reason to hide my name or my thoughts.

Since there are actually five posts between 3:00 and 3:10 am this morning that all have the same sentiment, I'd guess that this is the same person writing under several aliases and that he has no life other than keyboarding in the middle of the night. It must give this gutless wonder, who usually writes under "anonymous", a great sense of power to use my name or parts of my name as though this shows how really smart and cool he is. This feeling of power is evidently a substitute for actually writing something of substance.

3/19/2006 7:32 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Any comment that refers to the identity of others that have not self-identified as who they are will be deleted under our policy -- it's been that way for quite awhile.

JSR -- sorry someone seems to be drinking and blogging but I won't stand for games like that. I wouldn't have know unless you said something so thanks...

3/19/2006 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Sol said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/19/2006 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Travis is on a roll this morning, eh? What will he do when Susan isn't there to kick around any more. Besides the venom could anyone detect a new or original point in his opinion piece this morning?

3/19/2006 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Valerio said...

The biggest criticism of the Newspress editorials is simply to ignore them.

All the more bizarre for the editorial writer to complain repeatedly about why Susan Rose will not consent to an "interview".

3/19/2006 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone here actually show that letters are consistently published in an unethical way just to prove up the editorials? Or is it just another urban legend--part of Sara's or Marty's continuing obsession/spin with Travis? And what newspaper letters section would print an attack on Sara like the one Sara permits above on Wendy McCaw, "behind the back kinda girl, sneaky, etc." Wendy has had published pieces, like anyone else, that she's signed, like the one a couple of weeks ago about Otis Chandler--but what daily newspaper individually signs its own editorials? Week end is nearly over guys; time to sober up.

3/19/2006 5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would I do if I were Travis Armstrong?

I wouldn't give this blog any attention unless there was more original thinking and less name calling.

3/19/2006 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ds fully supports this blog as a free speech community. Sara has done an outstanding job giving the voiceless a voice. Das believes more blogs should follow her example.

3/19/2006 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never heard Das complain about Travis.

Another reason Das should be President....

3/19/2006 8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/19/2006 8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believe me folks, 8:48 isn't just ranting. Marty's incredible tone deaf response will cost the City millions.

3/19/2006 9:00 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

8:48 -- yes you are seriously off topic! You should start your own blog if you would like to cover other issues...

3/19/2006 10:15 PM  
Anonymous Joe Smith said...

That is seriously off-topic Sara -- I think you should start the comment moderation feature.

3/19/2006 10:29 PM  
Anonymous SOL said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/20/2006 6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, I agree with joe smith. The petty personal attacks and name calling here have dragged this blog to new depths. Start the comment moderation feature.

3/20/2006 7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations. Comment moderation is a good idea that will help. Now, to follow up, please also go above and delete the name calling that crosses the line. Thanks.

3/20/2006 7:29 AM  

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