The Leader encourages readers to write letters to the editor. The newspaper tries to publish all letters, although that is not always possible.
This policy defines the process used to determine if a letter is appropriate for publication and to edit letters to be consistent with The Leader's policies. The Leader reserves the right to make exceptions to this policy when appropriate.
Letters should be e-mailed to email@example.com or sent to Editor, The Leader, P.O. Box 529, Covington, TN 38019, or faxed to 901-476-0373.
All letters must be signed by individuals, not groups. Anonymous letters will not be published. When a letter is signed by several people, only one or two people's names will be used. In such cases, if the letter's context does not imply the writer represents a group, then an editor's note will be added explaining that others signed the letter.
The Leader reserves the right to edit letters for length, style, grammar, inappropriate content and libel. Letters sent with "do not edit" instructions will not be considered.
Letters should be brief and should generally be 300 words or less, though longer letters may be considered.
All letters will be verified. Writers should include their addresses and daytime phone numbers on their letters.
Letters must be of general public interest. Complaints or compliments about businesses or individuals that deal with private matters will not be used. Also, we will not publish poetry or tributes to family members or friends. "Thank you" letters will be published only when they have general public interest and will face sharp editing to keep them relevant to most readers and to remove lists of businesses or individuals who donated to or supported a cause. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published.
Letters asserting specific facts and events not commonly known to be true will not be published; verification of all such statements would be required to limit potential for libel against the newspaper and obtaining such verification can prove difficult or impossible.
All letters must be the original work of the authors. Form letters will not be accepted. Letters that extensively quote other written material will be edited to keep quoted material to a minimum.
Letters to the editor should not be copies of letters sent to other parties. Such letters will not be used unless they can be easily edited to read like letters to the general public rather than to an individual.
When a subject generates numerous letters to the editor, some letters that repeat ideas made in previous letters may not be published or may be sharply edited to leave in only new, unrepeated ideas.
Letters to the editor headlines, which must meet certain space and style restrictions, are written by The Leader. Letter writers can suggest headlines, but their suggestions will not necessarily be followed.
During political campaigns, letters endorsing candidates will be accepted. However, such letters should focus simply on issues in the campaign and the candidates' qualifications as they relate to those issues. Excessive flattery about a candidate's personal life will not be used. Candidate letters will not be published the week prior to an election except as rebuttals to previously published letters. Portions that go beyond rebuttal will be edited.
All letters must be signed and include the writer’s full address and phone numbers for verification purposes. Only the name and community in which the writer resides will appear in print.