Most of the Opinion page today is devoted to Speak Out comments -- a larger-than-normal number of comments. Ordinarily, summertime is a slower time for comments received by phone, e-mail or letter. But not this year. As a matter of fact, the number of comments has increased along with the temperature and humidity.
This is part of a trend over the past few years. More and more Speak Out contributions are coming in. And, at the same time, more and more letters to the editor are being received.
We would like to think this is because readers of the Southeast Missourian see the Opinion page as their forum of ideas. As we process letters and Speak Out comments, we take great care to preserve the main points of every contribution. Some comments are weeded out because they are libelous, frivolous, or too poorly expressed to make sense. But we make every effort to present as wide a variety of opinions as possible on this page.
In addition to letters and Speak Out, we frequently allow contributors a bit more space in op-ed columns. It is our hope that all of these contributed opinions will help all of us form our own opinions and make us better citizens.
Citizenship in a free country means we are the beneficiaries of constitutionally guaranteed expressions of our ideas and concerns. We hope you, the readers, will agree that the Opinion page is a good place to suggest, cajole, vent and praise. Based on the number of comments that are on this page today, it certainly looks like readers are taking advantage of this melting pot of opinions.
When the Suburban Newspapers of America and the American Press Institute recently selected the Southeast Missourian as the Newspaper of the Year, the judges cited the local content of the Opinion page as one winning factor.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They are important.