Friday, 19 December 2014

What is the importance of Letters to the Editor and on what criteria a sub-editor selects them or Describe the principles of editing the letters


An important column of editorial page is “Letters to the Editor” column. This column gives the reader an opportunity to reply to editorials or columns of news situation. A few newspapers publish this column on the editorial page while others neglect this column. This column is fixed for readers. Unlike editorials, letters frequently comment on the issues that are not present in the news column. Usually most newspapers receive more letters than they have the space to print.
Letter to the editor is a way by which the editor knows the response of his readers. Letter to the editor is known as a fourth component of newspaper.”


Letters to the editor play a very important role in our society. Because through letters, the people express their ideas and views on‘ any current issue and by this way, they inform the editor on one hand and the government on the other.

1. Letters are Barrier to Corruption :
Through letters, the readers inform the newspaper’s editor and government also about the corruption and the corrupted officers, misusing the post of government and taking extra advantages from the people.

2. Official Complaints :
Readers in their letters also complaint against the government offices which are not performing their duties well. The basic purpose of such type of letter is to inform the government about its different departments’ performances.

3. Educational System :
Under-developing country where many people are living below the poor standard of their lives and suffering a lot of hardships in different fields of life. And one field of these is education. We need further improvements in our educational system. So in this respect, people tell the government that what type of improvements are required in our educational system and this is done through letters to the editor.

4. Complaints against Education Board :
People complaint against the education board and universities inform the government and the newspapers
about their performance.

5. Criticism on Political and Non-Political Organizations :
Letters to the editors are the main source of criticism on political and non-political organizations. Because people express their feelings, views and suggestions openly and freely in their letters. So they openly criticize the political parties, their organizations and the activities of non-political organizations.

6. Criticism on the Government :
The Government is being criticized itself by the readers of newspapers in their letters.

7. A Bridge between the Government and the People :
Letters to the editor play a role of a bridge between the government and the people because in the letters people express their views, suggestions to the government sometimes. These letters present the solutions of the current problems facing by the government currently.

8. Awareness :
Letters to the editor create great awareness among the readers as their letters show that they are well informed on one side and while on the other these letters sometimes present the solutions of the people’s problems.

9. To Serve the Democracy :
In the letters of the readers, people-cum-readers express their feelings, and show that they are fully aware of their political rights. As it is their political right to run the government themselves. By this way, they are actually trying to make others realize that “democracy” is their basic need for which they are ready to do anything.

10. Training and Guidance :
Letters to the editor develop the habit of writing among the readers to express themselves freely and contribute in the government’s affairs without any hesitation. While by presenting the solutions of the problems, people guide the government that what it should do? And which step it should take for solving their problems? And which step it should take for solving their problems?


The editor of the newspaper is bound to edit the letters before their publication, while during the letters editing, he has to follow certain principles, which are following:

1. Short Letters :
Editing means final selection of letters. In this prospective, editor’s first preference is short letter. He selects short letters first and while editing he tries to make the letters more shorter.

2. Letters of Unique Nature :
The letters which are unusually interesting are selected first by the editor. Because these letters attract the reader’s attention quickly. So letters of interesting event or interesting narration of current problems are selected first than the other letters.

3. Letters of Important Personalities :
When any important person writes letter about any current issue then editor selects and publishes it as it is. For example, a letter of Lallo Parshad on any political issue.

4. Unknown Letters :
The letters written by unknown writers, are not selected because information given in these letters is not reliable sometimes. So editor does not take the risk to publish

5. Easy and Simple :
While editing, the editor selects the letters which are written in easy and simple language. Because mostly, people can understand only simple language. That is why letters with simple and easy language are selected.

6. Letters and the Policy of Newspapers :
The editor of the newspaper does not select the letters which are against the policy of newspaper because these letters can confuse the people about the newspaper’s policy towards any current issue.

7. Off the Record Information :
If writer of the letter advises the editor not to publish his name due to certain personal reasons then it is the duty of the editor to abstain from disclosing the source of information in any particular issue.

8. Investigation :
The editor does not publish the letters in which information of any sensitive issue is given without investigation because it can be harmful for the prestige of the country and for the newspaper also.

9. Propaganda and Publicity :
Letters which contain elements of propaganda and publicity are not included in the publication. By this we mean that editor excludes the elements of propaganda and publicity from the letter before publication. Because the basic purpose of letters to the editor is to inform the government and the general public. It is not for the publicity and propaganda. So such types of letters are not published.

10. Prestige of the Country :
Any letter which is against the prestige of the country is not published.
And the editor of a newspaper does not select such types of letters because newspapers and letters to the editor are for the people’s and government’s encouragement and not for discouragement.


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