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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Writing Letters to the Editor

I am always encouraging people to write letters to the editor of our local papers if they have a particular issue or story they want to comment on. There are a few things you need to know when doing this.
  • Keep it consise, trying not to have more than 200 words
  • Don't make comments that could be considered slanderous
  • Expect your letter to be edited (see below for an example)
  • Don't take edits personally. Sometimes they can change the whole context of what you are trying to say and in that case let the editor know how you feel. The Daily News once edited one of mine, removing one sentence and changing one word, totally changed the context.
  • Don't expect every letter you send to be printed. While I have had litterally hundreds of letters printed over the years many have not been.
  • Don't expect the various newspapers to edit your letter in the same way. Each will do as they do and it can be amusing to see what they remove or how they rephrase a letter.
  • Finally HAVE FUN with it. Yes letter writing can be a serious endeavour but a little humour or sarcasm can make for enjoyable reading.

AS SENT:
Re: Canadian Federation of University Women

The only mistake the Nanaimo Chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) has made is to call their public meeting an All Candidates event. More appropriately it would have been better to call the event a meet & greet, for potential female candidates running for office, something no different than other organizations have done in the past.

In 2005 Friends of Plan Nanaimo held a number of gatherings throughout the city for the candidates they were endorsing, if other candidates showed up they to were allowed to speak and field questions from the Audience. The Builders Association routinely invites a few chosen candidates, usually a number of incumbents with specific others, who would support their agenda. There is nothing wrong with this.

Personally, knowing some of the members of the CFUW, I am confident they would not encourage voting for a person simply because of gender. These are well educated women, involved in the community, and as such I am sure would advocate their members, other women as well, to vote for candidates based on community participation and awareness of issues that face the community.

I hope to see more women getting involved but also my hope is that more of the so-called visible minority population does so as well. First Nations are the perfect example of this. While they comprise a large percentage of the population there is no formal representation on council. The sad fact also being that if they live on reserve they cannot even vote municipally. Good on you CFUW and anyone else who will actively encourage people to take part in the upcoming election, especially in doing so encouraging people to get out and vote? As a candidate for City Council I plan to attend as I see it as an excellent opportunity to further my own education.

AS PUBLISHED:
Nanaimo Bulletin Sept 30, 2008

Specific candidate meetings not unusual
To the Editor,
Re: Women only undemocratic, Sept. 23.
The only mistake the Nanaimo Chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women made is to not call their public meeting a meet and greet, for potential female candidates running for office – something no different than other organizations have done in the past.

In 2005, Friends of Plan Nanaimo held a number of gatherings throughout the city for the candidates they were endorsing. If other candidates showed up, they to were allowed to speak and field questions from the audience.

The builders’ association routinely invites a few chosen candidates, usually a number of incumbents with specific others, who would support their agenda.

There is nothing wrong with this.

Knowing some CFUW members, I am confident they would not encourage voting for a person simply because of gender. These are well educated women, involved in the community, and as such, would advocate their members, and other women as well, to vote for candidates based on community participation and awareness of issues that face the community.

Good on CFUW and anyone else who actively encourages people to take part in the upcoming election.
Especially if doing so encourages people to get out and vote.

Gordon Fuller
Nanaimo


Nanaimo Bulletin
editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Dailey News
letters@nanaimodailynews.com

Harbour City Star
star@nanaimodailynews.com

3 comments:

Allium said...

I have to admit I'm not overly surprised by the editing by the Nanaimo Daily News. I can understand editing for length if it doesn't fall into the guidelines but to change a letter to the point of changing the whole context is serious misrepresentation. I wonder how many other letters are "tidied" to the point of having the original meaning lost.

I'm glad you were able to post at least one unedited version here and you see the humour in the spin doctoring that can happen in today's "news".

Anonymous said...

good morning gordon,
all the best to you. by the way, thanks for being so kind to some homeless peoples. i enjoyied meeting you and think : would i be able to vote for you, i would! greetings from pedi (germany)

......... Gord Fuller ......... said...

Pedi, its been awhile and I hope all goes well for you. I really appreciate the comment.