A ROMENESKO READER writes: As campaign season heats up and more and more people are trying to get their letters to the editor published, one local paper [The Watch in Telluride, Colorado] has started charging people to get their letters published. [$25 for first 250 words, then $10 for each additional 250 words.] If you don’t pay, your letter will be published at the discretion of the editor – after all the paid letters, of course.
To me this seems ridiculous. Obviously there are times when not all letters will fit, particularly in election season, but having people pay for priority DOES NOT seem like the right way to address this. Thoughts?
Post them in comments or send me an email and I’ll post for you if you’re not on Facebook.
Update – The Watch editor Gus Jarvis tells Romenesko readers:
We only do paid letters in the month or so leading up to the regular November election and the main reason we do this is because of our limited space in print. We cover a region of three counties, each with various races and ballot issues within them.
A few years ago, we simply ran out of space to handle all of our letters. So now, we charge a very modest fee for those who really want their letter to be published and with that fee we are able to open more spacep/add more pages to publish them.
I wouldn’t say it’s a good way to monetize our operation, but rather a way to deal with a huge influx of election letters we receive at one time. After the election, we will go back to our normal policy of publishing letters at no fee.