01 October, 2020

For Kind Publication

Letters to the editor are the victory of sense over soundbite

For Kind Publication
Before the mandarins of the marketing department, armed with piecharts, graphs and slides revealing the results of the latest readership survey, told editors what readers expected to find in a newspaper, the lords and masters of the editorial section had simple rules of the thumb to determine the success of the newspaper. It had to provide taking points to the nation's movers and shakers; it had to be quoted by wire agencies and prominent publications abroad; and it had to generate letters to the editor, preferably flattering ones. The editors would fly into a rage at the merest suggestion that a newspaper's real worth was related to corporate profits, bottomlines, mind-share, volume routes and such jargon that flowed effortlessly from the lips of yuppies sporting starched, designer shirts and conservative ties.

Indeed, much has changed in the newspaper world today. But no editor worth his salt minimises the importance of the letters column. It is still regarded as a vital link between the newspaper and its readership. For, it is the only indication of a qualitative response...



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