William Mills, editorial page editor of the Cape Cod Times, has provided LCI with the newspaper’s Guidelines for Letters and Op-Eds.
As part of our mission to help discuss important local issues, we welcome your letters and guest columns. We appreciate your willingness to share your perspective. Your voice matters.
Sadly, we can’t publish every letter or column that we receive, but we read and appreciate every submission. Sometimes, your letters make our editorial board and staff aware of an issue we hadn’t known about. Always, they help us understand what people are thinking about and saying in the community.
For publication, we especially look for letters and columns that share a unique perspective — that make us think. We look for writers who have spent time and attention developing their own opinions, rather than simply repeating other people’s arguments. Write in your own voice. We’re much more interested in why you feel the way you do than in what you think is wrong with people who disagree with you.
We work hard to select a diversity of voices, perspectives and views. We give first priority to Cape authors discussing Cape issues.
We expect writers to be civil and straightforward. Satire is a difficult skill to master, sarcasm rarely is persuasive and, as your mother no doubt has told you, name-calling is just plain rude.
Use logic and reasoning to support your opinions. Facts and figures are great, but give them context and include sources with your submission. If you do make a factual error we’ll work with you to fix it before publication. If the error is discovered after publication, we’ll publish a correction.
Submissions must come from individuals, even when they represent a group or organization’s opinion. (A group opinion may be printed if one person accepts authorship). We do not print news releases or promotional material, form letters or third-party letters, poetry or petitions.
When you submit your opinion, it might be a day or two before we’re able to review it. We thank you in advance for your patience. If your letter has not been published within 10 days, we will probably not use it. If your guest column has not been published within 30 days, it will probably not be used.
When we select a piece for publication, we edit it for accuracy, length, redundancy, clarity and civility. If we have substantive changes, we’ll get your approval before we publish the edited version. Our intent in editing never is to change your opinion, but to ensure your views are clear and easy to understand.
During election season, we try not to run letters or columns about candidates or ballot questions within three days of the vote in an effort to be fair to all candidates and issues.
Here is a submission checklist. Did I:
- Write it myself and stay within the maximum word limit (200 words for a letter; 450-650 words for a My View column).
- Include my full name, address and daytime phone number for verification?
- Write about an issue of local importance?
- Offer solutions to the problems I am addressing, when possible?
- Use plain language, spelling out acronyms and explaining any specialized jargon?
- Focus on my own thoughts and opinions, without making false and damaging statements about another person?
- Include sources of facts that I used in support of my argument?
To submit your letter or guest column, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Letters, Cape Cod Times, 319 Main St., Hyannis, MA 02601.
For questions or comments about these policies, please email William Mills, editorial page editor, at email@example.com.