Why Print Letters To The Editor?

Save space, money and sanity by keeping "uninformed angry rants" online

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There's a bright side to shrinking newspaper circulation, but still plenty of room to improve. A deceptively simple fix comes from Stan Collender at Capital Gains and Games, who argues that the time-honored "letters to the editor" section is a waste of space in print newspapers and should be scrapped:

"I used to at least glance at the LTEs [Letters to the Editors], and I have written them for clients.  But when they started to be nothing more than uninformed angry rants about the stupidest subjects…I quickly and painlessly gave up the practice.

Even if the sentiments being expressed in the letters are heartfelt and sincere, are they really so important that they need to be shared with everyone?

Why not relegate all letters to editors to the online version and leave the shrinking real estate on the print pages to something that's actually valuable?"

He speculates that the section survives because letters moderate advertiser anxiety about editorials. Should letters to the editor should be shifted online?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.