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Editorial: Mail Call

Over the past few years, our Letters to the Editor submissions have declined.

Perhaps the news has not been controversial enough. Or maybe our readers are too busy to write letters, although many of you have found the time to comment via the Internet. Whatever the case, we miss hearing from you – whether on topics that appear in the paper or on topics that are germane to your life. We want to know what aggravates you, keeps you up at nights or makes you smile.

All too often people think the Letters to the Editor column is a section of the paper reserved only for those individuals who are annoyed or upset about something happening in the world at large or in their own neighborhood. Not so. West Newsmagazine will gladly accept letters that share a little good news as well.

Last month, historian David McCullough spoke at Powell Symphony Hall as part of the St. Louis Speakers Series sponsored by Maryville University. As you no doubt know, McCullough is a noted historian. What you may not know is that he also is a bit of a humorist.

During the course of the evening, McCullough regaled the audience with stories of conducting research for his latest biography about the lives and achievements of Orville and Wilbur Wright –and of their sister, Katharine. “Their tale would not be complete without her,” he declared. McCullough spoke of detailed diary entries and, more importantly, detailed letters that the brothers and Katharine shared.

“They wrote wonderful letters,” McCullough explained, noting that letters are critical for historians’ research.

“Historians,” he said, “are going to have a near impossible task of researching us. We don’t write letters.”

It’s true. We don’t write letters – not even letters to the editor.

“If you want to be remembered for all time, do this: Write letters or keep a diary (or better yet do both). Then, when you die will it to Washington University or one of the other fine universities you have in St. Louis,” McCullough said. “I guarantee you yours will be the only letters and diaries of this era in there. And you’ll be famous.”

McCullough made a point of calling out our habit of sharing everything – from our lunch of the day to the big achievements of our lives – online. And, at westnewsmagazine.com, we have witnessed increased commenting online, too.

But as lasting as they seem, online comments do not have the permanency of print.

We want to make you famous!

People sometimes call and ask why repeat letter writers – you probably know them by name – appear in West Newsmagazine’s Letters to the Editor column time and time again. The answer is easy. They write letters.

Those same callers usually chuckle and say, “Maybe I’ll write a letter.”

Please do! We’d love to hear from you. We’d love to have the editor@newsmagazinenetwork.com inbox filled to overflowing with your letters to the editor.

Come on, you know you have it in you. Send us a letter – a happy one, a cranky one, a funny one or a thought-provoking one. Let us make you famous!

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