The Park Record Editorial Aug. 2-5, 2008 | ParkRecord.com
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The Park Record Editorial Aug. 2-5, 2008

Signed letters trump comments, hand down

The Park Record’s Letters to the Editor and Guest Editorials are among the best read pages in the newspaper, which has always been a matter of great pride to the publisher.

In fact, during particularly rambunctious political campaigns or times when community members are up in arms, we’ve thrown extra pages on the press – the price of ink be damned.

But lately, the number of letters has been paltry. Could it be that everyone is blissfully content, that City Hall is perfect, elected officials have satisfied every voter’s wish and every tax dollar has been brilliantly dispersed?

Come on!

One look at the comments posted beneath each news story on http://www.parkrecord.com reveals deep reservoirs of discontent, angst and anger. Dogs are being persecuted and their freedom trampled, building officials are running roughshod over private property rights, developers are turning Park City into Los Angeles, the sheriff’s department is involved in a conspiracy (we aren’t sure what for) and, of course, The Park Record’s reporters and editor are berserk.

Unfortunately, few of the posted comments offer any civilized dialog. Many are vicious knee-jerk attacks delivered by anonymous malcontents.

When The Record first opened its site to public comments, we worried that some people would find it easier to blurt a comment online than to compose a letter to the editor. But, even though the number of comments (323 this week) has far outnumbered signed letters to the editor (8), few would have passed the decency threshold required by our letters policy.

OK, we’ll admit it. We can’t help reading the comments, gasping at the sheer meanness of some and laughing at the immaturity of others. A few have made us rethink our preconceptions about a particular story and made us re-evaluate our coverage.

But our most sincere admiration is reserved for those who submit their commentaries followed by their full names, complete with phone numbers for verification.

We imagine them burning up their keyboards with righteous indignation and then banging out their first names, middle initials and surnames with chins held high. Even though their criticism is painful, we feel a kinship with the authors that comes from a mutual passion for free speech.

So here is our challenge – blast off an online comment if it makes you feel better, but then sit down and write us a letter. Keep in mind that your name will be in bold print at the end when it is published so take your time, think about both sides of the issue, make an effort to convince rather than alienate the object of your wrath. We are pretty sure the outcome will be much more constructive if we tone down the online comment board and rev up the Letters page. To submit a letter for the newspaper (it will also appear online) please log on tohttp://www.parkrecord.com/writealetter or mail it to Editor, The Park Record, 1670 Bonanza Drive, Park City, Utah 84060.


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