As we continue to shake things up around here, adding more and easier ways for you to give us your two cents, we have something to point out: We can only listen if you tell us what's on your mind.
Countless responses to the survey last spring mentioned wanting more reader input. One reader told us, "I also find it irritating that your Letters to the Editor section is so limited on a daily basis. I liked it more when this section was more meaty. Free Speech Friday is great, but inadequate. I want to know what The Daily readers have to say – I liked the feeling of constant interaction between readers and The Daily. It felt like a more dynamic paper at that time."
Believe us when we say we'd love to see more letters published — it often makes for some of a newspaper's most interesting reading — but we can't publish what we don't have.
While a lot of people (including many of us inside the newsroom) would like to see letters published every day of the week, there are some weeks when we only receive a few of them. We figured part of the problem lies with many readers not knowing how to submit letters.
It's easier than you might think.
Think of letters to the editor as your chance to speak your mind to the entire campus. They don't have to relate to something you read in The Daily, or in any other newspaper for that matter. If you think something matters, a letter to the editor is a way for you to tell other people why.
While the content of your letters is open-ended, we do have a few guidelines to increase the likelihood your letter will be published, most of which you'll find at the bottom of page 4 in every paper:
• Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop them by Communications 132 to the attention of the opinion editor.
• Try to hold letters to 250 words. We only have so much space to use.
• Include your full name, and your UW affiliation: year and major/department for students, department for faculty and staff, or degree and year graduated for alumni.
• Your contact information must be included. We will not print this information –— it is simply for us to have proof that the letter is genuine.
• As general rules, we will not print vulgar or offensive language, nor will we print personal attacks.
We're also making efforts to incorporate other ways for readers to respond.
One reader recently submitted a letter to the editor in cartoon form. We published it, and wouldn't be opposed to doing that again.
Rants and Raves, which topped the list of the features you found the most interesting, is now open to reader submissions. Anyone with an idea for this feature should send it like a letter to the editor with a 30 word maximum limit.
The photo printed each day on page 2 is also open to submissions, of which we've only had a few all quarter. If you take a photo that you really like (it doesn't matter of what), send it along with a description to email@example.com — it may just get published with your byline.
Our newest development, as noted last week, is on the new Web site. Below each story is a box for your comments, which are posted immediately below the story on the page.
A great many people want to see more reader-submitted content, and our goal with all of these new features is to facilitate it, but it takes more than a fancy new fire pit to roast s'mores:
We need you to fuel the fire.
Please read our Comment policy.