Readers’ letters round out opinion page

Mike KnaakColumn, Opinion, Print Sartell - St. Stephen, Print St. Joseph0 Comments

Informed opinions, vigorously argued, form the foundation of democracy. The opinions appearing on this page (and sometimes the next page as well) are offered in that spirit.

The editorial that regularly appears to the left of this column represents the Newsleader’s view of current events. Newspaper editorials aren’t meant to tell readers how to think, but instead serve as a starting point for discussion or to focus attention on an issue readers might want to debate.

Connor Kockler, Dennis Dalman, Patric Lewandowski and I share the right side of the page with our columns. We write about a variety of topics – local and national. I like to share my take on current local issues, offer my perspective on the joys and oddities of everyday life and sometimes remind readers of the historical context of current events.

Like the editorial on the left side of the page, the four of us aren’t trying to tell you how to think but get you thinking, start a conversation or maybe just share a common moment.

Because we’re a small operation, Dennis and I also write news stories. When we’re reporting, we set aside our opinions and make decisions about what and how to cover a story based on standards of fairness and significance. You may not agree with the stories we choose to report, where they end up in the newspaper or who we choose to interview, but we make those decisions by applying news judgment and set aside our opinions or biases.

Letters from readers also appear on these pages and I’d like to see more of them.

I invite readers to respond to editorials and columns as well as raise new issues.

We do have some guidelines for letter writers.

The Newsleader welcomes letters to the editor on current topics of local interest.

Writers are limited to one letter every three months.

Letters must be signed and include contact information, such as an email or phone number, for verification, but that information will not be published.

During election campaigns, letters will be chosen to present a variety of opinions.

Letters that do not run in print will appear on our website,

To be considered for publication, letters must be exclusive to the Newsleader.

Letters to the editor may be sent to or P.O. Box 324, St. Joseph, Minn. 56374. Deadline is noon Monday. Letters must be 350 words or less.

Editorials, columns and letters present a viewpoint by advancing a well-reasoned argument. The most effective writing starts with established facts. You’re more likely to sway your audience (and get your letter published) if your writing is anchored in facts, not rumors, clear falsehoods or unsubstantiated accusations.

With the election season now underway, I hope readers will share their opinions about candidates and issues.

Your participation as a letter writer is one way to be part of civic life. Sharing your informed, reasoned opinion serves to focus the public debate and results in sound decision-making by elected officials.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Author: Mike Knaak

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