New year new view

The Coast - - THIS WEEK -

Prob­a­bly the most fa­mous let­ter to the edi­tor was that of eight-year-old Virginia O’Han­lon to the edi­tor of New York’s Sun, pub­lished Sep 21, 1897, which led to the ed­i­to­rial “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” The most im­por­tant part of the let­ter re­ally was: “Papa says, ‘If you see it in The Sun it’s so,” a state­ment that should still ring true for all news­pa­pers, but now faces at­tack from false news and miss­ing or mis­lead­ing news. The world would be a bet­ter place if ev­ery­body wrote let­ters to the edi­tor. The ba­sis of this idea is as­pi­ra­tional: It would mean that all peo­ple could read, rea­son and write; they had suf­fi­cient leisure time to con­sider is­sues; they can af­ford a news­pa­per and a stamp, or have ac­cess to email; and more im­por­tantly they live in a world where it is safe to ex­press an opin­ion openly. Too many voices are quashed ei­ther by fear or a lack of op­por­tu­nity. I have writ­ten to many news­pa­pers in­clud­ing many of the best (yours) and some of the lesser news­pa­pers (theirs). The op­por­tu­nity to read and com­pare news­pa­pers and es­pe­cially their edi­to­ri­als has al­lowed me to see is­sues from many view­points. There are many peace­ful ways of ad­vo­cat­ing for a cause and let­ter writ­ing should be one of the first to be used. We need to re­mind our lead­ers that they are meant to be in­spi­ra­tional and the best the coun­try has to of­fer.

Den­nis Fitzger­ald, Melbourne, Aus­tralia

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