The JTNews Ten Commandments: Writing a Letter to the Editor

In order to better serve its community, JTNews welcomes letters to the editor. To maintain our high levels of journalistic integrity, JTNews sets forth these guidelines for letters:

1. Letters should contain the writer’s first and last names, signature (if mailed), address, a daytime telephone number, and e-mail address if applicable. JTNews will not publish anonymous or pseudonymous letters. Upon request, the editor will use his discretion to withhold names from letters.

2. The publisher and editor reserve the right to exercise absolute discretion when selecting letters for printing. A submission of a letter is not a guarantee of publication. JTNews does not publish form letters or mass mailings.

3. All letters are subject to editing for length and grammar. Letters with special requests or instructions for editing will not be considered for publication.

4. Please limit your letters to approximately 300 words. The editor will print longer letters only under special circumstances.

5. JTNews seeks views from many perspectives. However, letters that contain obvious factual inaccuracies, unattributed facts and quotes, unsubstantiated allegations of wrongdoing, insulting comments, or defamatory statements will not be printed. Letters harmful to the Jewish community, call for the destruction of Israel, or contain hate speech of any kind will not be printed.

6. JTNews does not accept unsolicited “guest” opinion columns.

7. JTNews uses traditional news values, including timeliness, relevance and interest when deciding to print letters. Responses to an article or editorial will generally not be printed more than two issues after publication of the original material.

8. Letters identifying problems in the community, including issues concerning Jewish organizations and/or area synagogues, are strongly encouraged to include proposals to solve those problems.

9. JTNews does not wish to be an intermediary to opposing parties. Rebuttals are welcome, but volleys are not. No more than two letters by a single writer on the same specific subject will be published.

10. Once submitted, all letters become the property of JTNews.

These guidelines were created with the assistance of the Syracuse Jewish Observer.

Viewpoints Guidelines

The Viewpoints section of the JTNews and includes contributed columns, editorial cartoons, letters to the editor, signed editorials by the JTNews editor, and unsigned editorials by the JTNews Editorial Committee.  The Editorial Committee of the JTNews has adopted new guidelines on editorial content of the Viewpoints section.

1. The JTNews is the voice of “Jewish Washington,” representing a broad range of religious, cultural, economic, social and political views.

2. The Editor will make a best effort at fairly balancing viewpoints. Such balance need not necessarily occur within the same issue of the JTNews, but should occur in a time-frame that is appropriate for the matter being addressed.

3.  Families of public figures — meaning local or national officeholders or candidates for office, celebrities, clergy, organizational heads, and other newsmakers determined by the editor to be public figures — shall not be addressed editorially unless they are substantively involved in an issue that is the subject of the editorial.  This may not always hold true for reporting.

4. Content should be of interest to the Jewish community of Washington state as Jews, whether directly or tangentially, and consistent with the Mission Statement of the JTNews.

5. Letters to the editor are governed by the “JTNews Letters Guidelines” which is displayed above.

6. The Editorial Committee may add or modify these guidelines at any time, and, through its normal process, may make exceptions at any time.

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