EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 1, 2014

Editorial: Thanks for joining in the debate

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Happy New Year!

As we begin 2014, we’d like to take a moment to thank those who made our opinion pages vibrant and interesting in 2013. Specifically, we’re talking about those of you who wrote letters to the editor and op-ed columns or who posted in Sound Off or our online comments feature.

The purpose of the opinion pages is to foster debate about the issues that matter in our community. We strive to make our editorials hard-hitting and thought-provoking. We are grateful for our regular contributors: cartoonist Dave Granlund; columnist Taylor Armerding and columnist Barbara Anderson, the president of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

But the contributions of everyday readers really make the opinion pages tick.

We publish an average of two to three letters to the editor daily, six days a week — on Saturdays we run our “The Week’s End” editorial cartoon feature instead. And while the letter supply runs a little low around the holidays, we publish more than 700 letters a year.

Letters give readers the chance to express their views on the issues of the day, to praise or criticize those who govern us, to express thanks for a kindness or to agree or disagree with The Eagle-Tribune’s editorial positions.

We also publish reader-submitted op-ed columns — longer, more thoughtful pieces aimed at a broader audience than letters.

Together, letters to the editor, Sound Off, online comments and op-ed columns offer readers a number of ways to express their views on our pages. And readers’ opinions don’t have to agree with ours. Debate and disagreement are what the opinion pages are all about.

We are grateful for all our readers, and particularly those who are willing to express their views on our opinion pages. We thank you all.

We’d like to encourage more people to join the debate. It’s easy, stimulating and fun. Here’s how:

We prefer to receive submissions by email as it is easier and faster to get these into print.

To submit a letter or op-ed column, email it to: letters@eagletribune.com.

Those without access to a computer can still mail contributions to: Letters to the editor, The Eagle-Tribune, 100 Turnpike St., North Andover, MA 01845.

A well written letter stays focused on its topic, is written in a natural speaking voice and contains 500 words or fewer. It is written as if the writer is speaking “to the editor” and not a fellow letter writer or public figure who might be the topic of the letter.

We need to publish the author’s name and hometown with each letter. We require a phone number for verification of letters. The phone number will not be published. We edit all letters for length, tone and libel.

A column is different. It must appeal to a broader range of readers than a letter, be exceptionally well written and run from 700 to 800 words in length. Again, we need the author’s name, hometown and phone number, as well as a little personal information about the author that we can place in a tagline at the end of the column.

To submit a Sound Off item, email it to soundoff@eagletribune.com.

Sound Off submissions are anonymous, but as such may be subject to heavy editing for tone, content and libel. We receive far more Sound Off comments than we have space to print, so publication is not guaranteed.

To submit an online comment, follow the directions provided in the “Discussion” box attached to each story on our website. A reader must set up a Disqus account using his or her actual name and also provide an email address and phone number to The Eagle-Tribune for verification. Online comments are not anonymous and will be posted under the reader’s name.

This past year was a fascinating one, with plenty going on to provoke readers’ comments. We suspect 2014 will be an exciting year as well. We welcome the opportunity to host the debate.