An important section of our editorial page is the “Letters to the Editor” column. This forum gives the reader an opportunity to respond when they want to express their opinions – to agree or disagree with someone else’s opinion, to challenge the thinking of others.

Providing a platform for responses to issues of the day has long been a function of the newspaper. These days, we have social media that offers instant reaction to whatever irks or excites. Most have responded to online news stories and social media postings with a comment or two, but have you ever written a letter to the editor?

The Daily Journal has always published letters sent from readers. And despite the many competing online platforms – like Facebook and Twitter – that now allow for the public airing of opinions and grievances on a given article, the Journal’s readers still feel the need to share their opinions, or to express shock, or excitement through the printed forum. We provide a safe place for their voice.

Reader letters can generate plenty of community discussion, keeping important issues in the public eye. They can stimulate interest and can also send a “good news” letter to bring recognition to people who deserve it or acknowledge the success of an effort.

This forum provides a wide audience and the power to send a message to many people. And most readers want to see what other people are saying.

The newspaper is an integral part of the community and plays a vital role in the distribution of news, information and ideas. On the opinion page, we offer ideas and opinions that we believe are important because one of the founding principles of the United States that Americans cherish is the right to freedom of speech.

Our opinion page is open to all readers. If you read something you like – or don’t like – express your views on the topic. We may not agree with a letter that is submitted, but you have a right to your opinion. It’s your voice.

Your letter is not written by anyone on staff – it’s yours, Joe Citizen, and carries a certain authority with it. This is your platform to discuss issues that are of importance to you.

Your voice is the voice of the people, not the paper’s interests. Use it.

Everyone has an opinion – and always will.

“Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it.”

– Samuel Johnson

from James Boswell ‘Life of Johnson’ 1791

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