Hmmm … shocking. One word that sums up the one and only “Letter to the Editor” in last week’s edition written by someone at The Northern Light. It stated, “We don’t see any benefit in printing letters discussing national events that contain no local context or issue and will not do so going forward.”
Who ever heard of any local paper refusing to print a “Letter to the Editor” because it comments on national issues? As if national issues don’t directly affect us all no matter where we live. They also wrote, “We have always felt the letters column ‘belongs’ to our readers – it’s your space to talk to fellow community members.” Yes. As a writer to and a reader of Letters to the Editor … it is “my space” to have the freedom to express myself, and extremely important to be able to do so concerning what is happening on a national level in America as well as locally.
There are huge, monumental issues taking place in our nation that are in the process of shifting and changing. Of course, as Americans we are going to feel strongly one way or another about these issues that affect us all. To want to try and limit our voices is a huge red flag.
Perhaps not since the American Civil War has there been a time when the country has been so divided or when national events have had greater local context than today. Your readers obviously care a great deal about local events, which is why they discuss national events ... precisely because they have everything to do with what is happening locally.
You have decided to make yourselves the arbiters of what is considered “local context.” In doing so you will choose content that serves your own political purposes, locally and nationally.
For four years during the Trump administration you permitted letters complaining about Trump’s crimes, whether real or imagined. But now, three months into Biden’s presidency you shut out what you yourself admit are a substantial portion of your readers.
To those readers, your importance as a news source will only be proportional as their concerns are to you. If you do not care about their concerns, they will not care about your paper.