Recent changes at the Local have prompted us to review our policies as well as our procedures. We have become aware that these policies, while largely unchanged over the years, are not always clear to our readers and even our writers. The Local has tried to be consistent in applying our rules on letters and guest opinions, but the lack of published guidelines has sometimes left the etiquette to the public's knowledge of this paper's history
Beginning today, our Letters to the Editor and Op-Ed Guidelines and Standards will be available at chestnuthilllocal.com/about/
They are printed in today’s edition, but because of length we will only provide a short version in future print editions, with a link to the full policy.
One of the main things that prompted this were several recent letters received that made reference to personal details of third parties. The writers were unknown to one another, as far as we can tell, and the personal details were about people only secondary to the main point of the letters. These were edited, though not always successfully, but we feel it best to avoid the situation before the letters arrive.
We encourage letters from our readers. As a community, we thrive on civil discourse.
Chestnut Hill Local
Letters to the Editor and Op-Ed Guidelines and Standards
Letter and Op-Ed Standards
The Local welcomes letters and Op-Ed pieces on any subject but we prefer they take as their starting point an article or other item that has appeared recently in The Local.
- Letters and Op-Eds may not have been submitted to, posted to, or published by any other media.
- Letters and Op-Eds can be authored by more than one person.
- Handwritten letters will not be accepted.
- All letters must be signed.
- No anonymous letters will be accepted.
- The Local will reject any letter that disparages private citizens or local businesses.
- Minors may not be named in letters or Op-Ed pieces without the approval of the child’s parent or guardian. Details that might identify a minor indirectly, or endanger a minor, will be removed at the discretion of the editor.
- Expressed concerns about public officials or corporations are permitted if the complaint is based on substantiated facts.
- Letters to the editor should be a maximum of 300 words.
- Op-Eds should be a maximum of 600 words.
- Letters that are longer than 300 words are dealt with on a case-by-case basis and published at the discretion of the editor.
- The Local reserves the right to edit letters to the editor and Op-Eds for clarity and AP Style, as well as to fact-check and edit to fit available space in the print edition.
- Writers are highly encouraged to provide source links supporting claims pertaining to events, statements, claims, quotes and data that appear in their writings.
- The Local reserves the right to remove information that cannot be independently verified.
- The Local makes its best effort to publish every letter to the editor and Op-Ed that adhere to these policies on a first-come, first-served basis. However, the submission of a letter or column does not guarantee its publication.
- If a submission requires lengthy fact-checking where source citations are not provided by the writer, this may delay or negate publication.
Election and political letters and Op-Eds
- The Local will accept letters and Op-Eds regarding elections and candidates up until two weeks prior to the last date to submit a ballot. After that time, only letters in response to the original piece will be considered. Because we do not have the staffing to research every claim made in letters to the editor, source information must be provided.