Readers Write: Newspapers offer community valuable forum

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Congratulations to my fellow Letter to the Editor writer, “Book stems from Letters to the Editor Great Neck resident Hal Sobel compiles Blank Slate Reader Writes Submission” (Joe Nikic — March 10).

Surveys reveal that “Letters To The Editor” is one of the most widely read and popular sections of any newspaper.

Weekly newspapers in Nassau County such as our own Great Neck News, along with sister publications the New Hyde Park Herald Courier, Williston Times, Manhasset Times, Roslyn Times and Port Washington Times, along with neighborly competitors including the Great Neck Record and others all offer readers a chance to speak out.

The same is true with daily newspapers such as AM New York, New York Daily News, Newsday, New York Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Staten Island Advance.

There are also numerous foreign language daily and other weekly newspapers in all five boroughs within New York City.

Weekly newspapers tend to offer more space for writers than daily newspapers.

Some daily newspapers have quotas of no more than one letter every 30 or 60 days per writer.

Newsday is once every 45 days.

Most daily and weekly newspapers will print letters submitted by any writer regardless of where they live so long as the topic is relevant to readers.

The Great Neck News and Blank Slate Media’s sister publications provide several pages each week for Letters to the Editor.

This is more than any other daily or weekly metropolitan New York area newspaper .

While the Great Neck News has never censored me, others periodically over the years have.

Some of our elected officials have thin skins when it comes to public criticism in the pages of your local weekly community newspapers.

It is amazing what some elected officials will say one day in front of one group or reporter and conveniently forget when speaking to a different group or reporter weeks, months or years later.

When you write about a past quote reported in a previous newspaper article and bring their conflicted position to the public, watch out!

The ability of some elected officials to influence either legal advertising, their own periodic holiday greeting or campaign reelection ads may have some sway over those weekly newspapers who may be too dependent on the revenues.

Remember the old adage, never bite the hands that feeds you.

Lucky for us Blank Slate Media remains totally independent of such efforts.

It helps to have a snappy introduction, good hook, be timely, precise, have an interesting or different viewpoint to increase your odds of being published.

Many papers welcome letters commenting on their own editorials, articles or previously published letters to the editor.

We continue to be fortunate to live in one of the few remaining free societies, with a wealth of information sources available.

Sadly, most American cities and suburbs are down to one local daily or weekly newspaper.

Newspapers have to deal with increasing costs for newsprint, delivery and distribution along with reduced advertising revenues and declining readership.

Many of us have opinions on news not only from Washington, Albany, New York City,  Nassau County and Town of North Hempstead but also neighborhoods and local issues which impact our communities and daily lives.

I continue to be grateful that the Great Neck News along with other daily and weekly newspapers afford both me and my fellow Letter to the Editor writers the opportunity to express our views, as well as differing opinions on issues of the day.

Thanks to you, ordinary citizens have the freedom to comment on the actions and legislation of elected officials in any Letters to the Editor section.

Public officials use taxpayers dollars to promote their views, via mass mailings of newsletters, news releases, letters to the editor and guest opinion page columns.

In many cases, they are produced or written by campaign or office staffers who are paid for by taxpayers.

The rest of us have limited time to submit a letter.

In the marketplace of ideas, let us hope there continues to be room for everyone, including the Great Neck News, all your sister publications, along with all the other weekly newspapers.

You may periodically see some familiar names including myself, Dr. Hal Sobel, Fred Bedell, Charles Samek, Morton Perlman,  Dr. Stephen Morris, Esther Confino, Jack Lipsky and others gracing the Letters to the Editor section.

Let us thank those few brave souls who are willing to take on the establishment and powerful special interest groups in the pages of your letters to the editor section.

They fill a valuable niche in the information highway.

Please join me along with your neighbors in reading your favorite daily and local weekly community newspapers.

Patronize their advertisers; they provide the revenues necessary to keep them in business.

Let them know you saw their ad.

This is what helps keep our neighbors employed, the local economy growing and provide space on a daily or weekly basis for your favorite or not so favorite letter writers.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

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