Hello, it’s me again. Sarah, your Arizona Daily Star Opinion Page editor.
I write on a variety of subjects most Sundays, some serious and some not so much – everything from gun violence to poverty to the joy of watching walruses lolling on a beach via webcam on a sweltering Tucson afternoon.
Today, I’m writing about you — and about us.
I have some good news: We are expanding our space for letters to the editor and more opinion pieces.
A few weeks ago, we published the names of the more than 3,160 people whose letters were published in the Star in 2018.
(The list included only writers who submitted their letters through our online submission form — at Tucson.com/opinion — because we can track them.)
Those writers crafted more than 6,340 letters to the editor during the year. Some wrote one or two, other folks wrote dozens. We published them all online and some were also printed in the newspaper.
More than a year ago, we began publishing on tucson.com almost all letters that come in through our online submission form for a couple reasons: We wanted readers to see for themselves the letters we receive and we wanted to include as many people in the conversation as possible.
There were a few we didn’t publish because they contained inaccurate information, libel or inappropriate language.
Each day we also publish letters in the newspaper. These letters are usually published online before making it into print simply because of the volume we receive and our workflow.
We mix up topics, writers and points of view in the printed letters, giving readers a range of what their fellow Tucsonans and Southern Arizonans are saying.
And to those of you who remain certain that we receive just as many conservative letters as liberal ones but only print the liberal ones, you are incorrect.
Take a look at the letters published online and you’ll see the letters we receive.
I wish we had more letters that shared a conservative perspective on specific issues.
So, conservative readers, please send us publishable letters to the editor. We want to hear from you. For real.
As I’ve said many times before, we cannot publish letters we do not receive.
Beginning Monday, we will be publishing two full pages of opinion content.
This might be a bit inside baseball-ish, but over the years the Opinion section (also known as the Editorial section) has gone from several full — or “open,” in newspaper parlance — pages to two pages to one page.
Fortunately, that changed more than a year ago when we went to one full page and one half-page Monday through Saturday, with two full pages on Sunday.
This means we will have more space for your letters to the editor, and more space to share opinion pieces written by local authors, national columnists and our own Star Opinion staff.
We have a few other things in the works, too.
Last fall we conducted a bit of an experiment. We invited some of our most active letter writers — an equal number of liberals and conservatives — to come together for conversations facilitated by volunteers from the Center for Community Dialogue, a program of Our Family Services.
It was great to see readers who’ve interacted via letters to the editor meet and put not just a face, but a person, to the name.
Please let me know if you’re interested in attending such an event.
We’re looking to build community and conversations, not put on a picnic where people come to yell “You’re wrong!” at each other over potato salad.
So, please keep those letters to the editor and suggestions coming.
We want to hear from you —and so do Star readers.