By Gerry Barker
Posted January 31, 2016
Say hello to a new feature that allows Letters to the Editor, to be published in the exclusive Letter Box in guelphspeaks.ca, (GS), Guelph’s most popular news commentary blog.
It’s popular because it’s non-profit and not beholden to any political party, cause or individual. With the help and support of a wide variety of citizens, GS digs beneath the surface of those events and stories that affect all citizens.
The results are obvious. In a number of cases, GS scooped the Guelph print media chiefly because of publishing deadlines and frequency of editions. On GS, your letter can be read at anytime because the blog never closes.
Guelph Speaks was born, oddly enough, as a column published in the Mercury from 2007 to 2011 in a column titled, “Between the Lines.” Guelph resident, GS editor Gerry Barker, was the author and commentator. Now the Mercury is gone and leaves a number of traditional departments without your access or exposure.
These include letters to the editor, opinion columns, editorials, obituaries, death notices, classified ads, advertising, provincial, federal and world news, comics. Puzzles, real estate news, weather, social notices such as birthday, wedding and anniversary greetings, sports and entertainment news, and city government news and analysis.
This has left an enormous vaccum of iformation that thousands of residents relied upon.
The death of this newspaper marks the revolution for news and commentary to be instantly transmitted online. GS has been doing that for five years and has influenced major changes at City Hall and commented on events at the provincial and federal level that affect Guelph and its citizens.
The new Letter Box platform allows you to publish your ideas, suggestions, concerns and opinions. Naked plugs for publicity by commercial interests are not welcome.
Remember GS’s mission statement that has not changed: “For the people by the people.”
GS cannot replace the entire Mercury package overnight. What we are planning to do is offer citizens the opportunity to send their letters for publishing in the Letter Box section of the GS blog.
The Letter Box is open and available 24-7. Of course, there are some restrictions such as use of profanity, libelous copy, copy limitation of up to 300 words and light editing for clarity purposes. We will not publish anonymous letters.
The Letter Box is opened every morning and the new contents are posted. Your letter stays in the box for five days then is moved to the Letter Box archive where it may be accessed. We ask that you include your name, address and telephone number. This information is private and will not be transferred or sold to any individual, company or political organization. The information is secure, period. Only your name and municipality will be published.
And it’s free. Send your letter to email@example.com. Please ensure the words: “Letter Box” is at the top of your letter. This is to differentiate the letters from the comment section of guelphspeaks.ca.
So, all you Mercury letter writers, you now have the opportunity to run your letters on the online guelphspeaks.ca site. The huge guelphspeaks.ca audience will read your letters; the most followed blog in Guelph.
Former Mercury Community Editorial Board authors and columnists are invited to make submissions for publishing articles or commentary in guelphspeaks.ca. If you require additional information send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to the online world that never sleeps.