Colorado paper blogs letters to editor

Stephen Baker

Sitting in a little cafe in Boulder, CO, and I see the local Scripps Howard paper, Daily Camera, is putting the letters to editor it receives online, which will appear on a blog. I would love to believe that they're following last month's blog post on this. But the idea is such a natural that I'm sure it's popping up all over the place. And Daily Camera appears to be an innovator in opening up its editorial processes. The paper has a feature called Virtual Editorial Board, in which they solicit views on a subject and then mold them into the paper's editorial.

One benefit of these openings is that they brings lots of new people--letter writers--into the blog world. I'm only guessing, but I would imagine that letter writers, as a demographic group, are grayer than the blogging mean. I'm basing this largely on my own parents. They sent letters to the Oregonian and The Times for six decades. I'd say they probably got 10% of them published in the Oregonian. One single letter, I think, made it into the Times. These are people who had strong opinions on everything from the Alger Hiss case to prisoner treatment at Guantanamo. Yet they, like so many others, struggled mightily to share those opinions with others. For them, publishing was a rare privilege, not a right.

Another Daily Camera change. "Readers are sometimes confused by the unsigned editorials, which reflect the newspaper's official stance," the paper writes. From now on, they'll put the byline of the member of the editorial staff who wrote each one.

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