Andrea Rondeau column: Write on, Cowichan readers

Letters are a little different because they are written by you, the readers

Last week I talked a little bit about why some items appear in the paper more quickly than others.

I mentioned that letters to the editor were a whole other kettle of fish. And they are, so I figured I’d address that subject this week.

Last week’s question was “why isn’t my item in the paper?” This week’s is a variation on the theme, “why isn’t my letter in the paper?”

Letters are a little different because they are written by you, the readers, not by staff here at the paper. Whereas with news and community stories I have to prioritize things by making a judgement that sometimes includes a decision about their relative importance, I rarely consider that when looking at letters. One person’s letter is equally important to another’s. Subjects of all descriptions are equally of interest, be it a thank you for finding a lost item or even saving a life, or commentary on a news story of the day.

Which isn’t to say that subject matter is always inconsequential. Sometimes we get a great number of letters on a particular topic, such as happened with the referendum on amalgamation of Duncan and North Cowichan. Particularly as the vote neared we got a lot of letters from people wanting to have their say. There was an added urgency because they would no longer be printable after the date of the referendum. So I worked hard to get as many as possible in. Some still did not make it. The ones that didn’t were long — longer than what we ask people to keep their letters to, which is about 300 words.

Which brings me to my next consideration when looking at letters: space. There is limited space in any given print edition. Normally, I do my best to get letters in on a variety of subjects, so we don’t bore readers who may not care about a particular issue. So if you’re looking to give yourself the best chance of being published in our hard copy, don’t send a novel.

I also try to get in a variety of voices, so not always the same three prolific letter writers (though we love you guys — don’t stop writing). We want voices from throughout the community, not just the loudest.

I’ve worked at other publications where they struggled to get enough letters to the editor to fill their letters section. We’re so lucky to have such a great readership here who want to write to us. I hope you won’t be discouraged if your letter doesn’t make it into our print edition. Know that it’s not a commentary on the quality, we just didn’t have the column inches.

With the development of our online presence it has made things a lot better in that we can now publish all of the letters fit to print on our website (, so even if it’s not on the newstand, your letter isn’t just stuck in our files.

Write on, Cowichan.

Just Posted

Brentwood boys finish 13th at provincial XC meet

Keaton Heisterman 12th overall to lead Brentwood

UPDATED: Malahat point-to-point cameras receive strong support, public survey shows

The survey was conducted by the CRD safety commission this past February and March

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

Light makes light work of Autumn Classic

Duncan runner finishes first in combined 10k+5k

Lake Cowichan institution closing its doors

A Lake Cowichan institution is closing its doors come Nov. 30. The… Continue reading

People flocking to Cowichan Bay to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over the floating breakwater

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

Most Read