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Limiting letters to 250 words

The letters to the editor is one of the most popular sections among Pilot readers and there’s rarely a shortage of letters.

However, an uptick in letters that exceed the 250-word limit makes it difficult to publish them as quickly as we and writers would like.

In most cases, 250 words should provide writers enough room to make their point, regardless of the issue. Such letters allow the Pilot to publish more per issue — allowing for a greater variety of community opinions.

Writers of public forums are limited to 800 words. These are not simply extra-long letters, but ones written by people with specific expertise or knowledge on a given issue. Guest opinions are limited to 700 words and are chosen arbitrarily by the editor.

When a letter greatly exceeds the 250-word limit, the Pilot works collaboratively with the writer to satisfy the requirement. We appreciate the writers’ flexibility and they often thank us for making their letter more succinct.

While the 250-word limit helps the Pilot with its own production purposes, and to make sure that limited space is equitably handed out, we will continue to weigh those goals  against the potential perception that we are being inflexible or intolerant of contrary views. 

We will always strive to extend the maximum latitude to our letter writers, whose contributions help make this a community newspaper worth reading.


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