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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 6, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta Wednesday, January 6, 1971 - THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD - 37 Flow increases during a time of unrest and social change More people than ever writing to newspapers to express feelings By R. J. ANDERSON I The Toronto Star. Canada's I terrible suffering caused by I about the lot of needy pension- , is 2,500-3,000 a year. The Win- i running only six to nine of , "Wp hnvo ni�.av<, , i , Canadian Press Stuff Writer largest newspaper with a cir- drinking drivers. ers and added: "There has nipeg Tribune gets about 1.000 them. The MontrealGazetted ooWon thrt if.^lfi t.�! #te,r0S.� lBMl. n?!?y dou I mht�n rf .hmit. ino.nm. fp�- I "At Mwt other phH of the I been a noticeable concentra- I and shvs thevol,,T fh.o. ^, ,Vf,? "ader �t,nkes the 19'885 received five yc By R. J. ANDERSON Canadian Press Stuff Writer In a time of unrest and so cial change, more people than ever before are writing to the editors of newspapers to express their feelings. Many papers are expanding their pages to handle the flow. An unsurprising uniformity by the papers in handling the correspondence is shown in a Cross-Canada Survey by The Canadian Press. Editors par-tlcularly like a dialogue among readers through newspaper columns. All editors, the survey showed, watch closely for libellous matter or profanity. If any topic is banned in a Let-ters-to-the-Editor column, it would be religion; most editors dislike getting involved in theological controversy. Along this line, the editor of the Niagara Falls (Ont.) Review said of his readers: "The topics they select for letter-writing centre around their city council, street paving, weed cutting and a bit of general moralizing (non-sectarian, thank God.)" SOME WITHHELD And most editors insist that signatures be published. Occasionally they will withhold a name if, upon checking the writer, it is determined that publication would cause hardship, such as loss of a man's job. If there is a social trend evident in the letter flow, the survey showed, it would be free expression of opinion on abortion, a topic seldom brought up until recent years, or on the increasing use of drugs, problems of teen-agers and so on-a natural response to current events. Writing a good letter is an art, seemingly rarely practised. And perhaps Canadians are not humorous when they take pen in hand-they literally do; most letters are hand-written-to write to the local newspaper. For the really witty letter is a rarity. Most editors snatch at them with good display. Editors don't need to be "dared" into publishing a letter. If a writer has a timely point to make, the editor deftly excises "you won't publish this." It's all right to make barbed criticisms of public figures such as the prime minister. He's a politician with, supposedly, a hard protective shell, and is expected to stand up to such criticisms. But the private citizen who has raised the ire of a reader isn't. Out goes the letter. The Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper with a cir-culaton of about 400,000. features letters with full-page display. It received 10,091 in 1969, publishing 3,549. In the first nine months of 1970 it received 10,230, running 2,982. The Star recently published a photograph of Nobel Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug with this letter from a woman: "He (Borlaug) said: 'If we could have developed a wheat germ that could restrict the fertility of the human female then we really would have deserved the Nobel Prize.' "A woman can bear a child only once in nine months, but a man can fertilize many females in that time. Dr. Borlaug should work on making the male less fertile." The Toronto Telegram in recent months has gone all out on letters. It devotes a full page to them and daily features what it considers the best one, usually with a cartoon. It says it receives about 300 letters a week, a 200-percent increase in three months. It has no taboos and no bans. All letters carry the writer's name, the authenticity being checked. (Almost every paper checks signatures in telephone books or city directories or by other means before publishing a letter.) NO MORE PLEASE' The Globe and Mail, alone in Toronto's morning-paper field, also has increased the space allotted to letters. It publishes about 6,000 a year. It attracts many polished, erudite letters and often gives prominence to lengthy correspondence on serious topics from leaders in the academic or political field. The London (Ont.) Free Press has a rule against poetry. But if a writer wishes to argue a religious concept on its merits, that's OK. Letters critical of the paper go to the top of the column. Writers who fire off letters twice a week or oftener are sent a tactful note: There is a one-a-month limit. Have letters to the editor any effect upon public opinion? The Saint John (N.B.) Telegraph-Journal and Times-Globe think they do. Between them, they get from 1,200 to 1,50!) letters a year and their, reply to the survey said: "New Brunswick made breath tests compulsory some time before Ottawa did as the result of public outcry stirred by a blunt and revealing letter to the editor from a Saint John brain surgeon about the terrible suffering caused drinking drivers. "At the other end of the scale, painted wooden signs identifying the courthouse in Saint John were replaced with bronze plates in direct response to a suggestion in a published letter." RETICENT IN SASK. Of social trends, the St. John's (Nfld.) News noted a reaction against certain aspects of modern life'-'for instance, if an especially sexy movie is showing in town, there are likely to be protests in letters to the editor.' The Calgary Herald reported a growing concern among its correspondents Future of refugees still in doubt NICOSIA (Reuter) - The future of 20,000 Turkish-Cypriot refugees is still in doubt seven years after the first of communal clashes with Greek-Cyp-riots drove them from their homes. The solution remains in the hands of negotiators for both sides. The talks started June, 1968, and are still proceeding in meetings once' every two weeks. The Greek and Turkish communities on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, a former British colony, remain divided, and the international community of nations has paid more than $120 million so far to keep the peace between them. A 3,500-man force from eight countries (Canada, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Britain) has been stationed in Cyprus since March, 1964. The money for this interna- Five seek post of UC moderator KINGSTON, Ont. (CP) -Rev. J. A. Davidson, a Kingston minister, said today he will seek the position of moderator of the United Church of Canada. Mr. Davidson will compete for the position against four other candidates, all from Toronto. They are Rev. R. H. N. Davidson, minister of St. Andrew's United Church; Rev. Ernest E. Long, secretary of the church's general council; Rev. A. B. B. Moore, former president of Victoria University; and Rev. Robert Watt, minister of Trinity United Church. Other candidates to succeed Dr. Robert B. McClure might be nominated from the floor when ttie church's general council elects its new moderator for a two-year term Jan. 26 at Niagara Falls, Ont. tional force comes from voluntary contribuitons by United Nations members. EXPENSIVE FEUD The unfinished argument between the Greek- and Turkish-Cypriots is costing Cyprus a great deal of money. Both the Greek- and the Turkish-Cypriot communities spend millions of dollars each year to maintain standing forces of about 10,000 men on each side of the sandbags and fortified posts that still mark the dividing lines between the two communities. Effective power in Cyprus lies with the Greek-Cypriote who govern the island under the presidency of bearded Archbishop Makarios. The authorities supply the Greek-Cypriot national guard, comprising conscripts who have just finished at secondary school. The cost is an extra burden on the annual budget or on the reserves. In the case of the Turkish-Cypriots, no such regular funds are available locally, and the main burden of supporting the entire refugee community falls on the Turkish government, which is committed to spending about $20 million every year for this purpose. UNEMPLOYMENT HIGH In addition, the Turkish-Cypriot administration here pays about $600,000 a year in financial assistance to refugees. Few can find employment in the depressed Turkish areas where little industry exists, and small holdings provide a minimal existence for farmers and shepherds. The extent of unemployment among the Turkish-Cypriote is disguised by the fact that large numbers of the able-bodied male refugees have been incorporated into the community's defence forces. These forces are reasonably well equipped with an assortment of light arms. The men are paid according to their family situation. about the lot of needy pensioners and added: "There has been a noticeable concentration on matters pertaining to youth-the nippies et al, re hostels and so on." Saskatchewan's wheat farmers seemingly are not given to letter writing, for the Regina Leader-Post says it gets no more than 10 a week and publishes 70 per cent of them. The Moose Jaw Times-Herald gets a half-dozen a week and runs almost all of them. Abortion, seldom mentioned in letters to the Winnipeg Free Press a few years ago, now is candidly discussed, that paper reports. Its volume is 2,500-3,000 a year. The Winnipeg Tribune gets about 1.000 and says the volume fluctuates according to the weather-summer is a slow period. NATURAL TOPIC Bilingualism in the public service is a natural topic lor letter-writers in the Ottawa Journal and The Citizen, English-language papers which each receive about 2,800 letters a year. But writers to the French-language Ottawa Le Droit (1,000 a year) have preferred in recent months to hit hard at Finance Minister Benson's white paper on taxation. The Montreal Star says it gets about 20 letters a day but is selective in publication. running only six to nine of them. The Montreal Gazette's 25-40 a week was' termed a marked increase over the volume of a few years ago. Quebec L'Action publishes about 300 of the 400 letters it receives In a year. Topics in recent years have dealt mostly with the denominational school system, Radio-Canada (CBC) programs, pollution and private fishing and hunting clubs. For a small paper, the North Bay I Ont.) Nugget, which usually runs letters in full, seems to receive more than its share, about 625 a year, and its editor thinks there is a reason: "We have always held the opinion that if a reader takes the time and effort to write us about a subject of genera] interest, he should be allowed to have his full say." TASK IS ASSIGNED The volume of correspondence nowadays is such that few newspaper editors-the executive responsible for a paper's editorial content-can handle the letters column alone. The task usually is assigned to a senior deskman or, on the big-city papers, to a full staff. No Canadian newspaper receives the volume of the New York Times which got 37,449 letters in 1969, nearly double the 19,885 received five years earlier. It had room to run only 2,622 of them and recently doubled the space devoted to reader's views. The Wall Street Journal observed: "The sombre New York Times is given to running long, sombre letters from experts discussing foreign policy and other matters of import." Not the lively tabloid New York Daily News, though. A sample: "Women's Liberation Movement, bah! And the hypocritical male phoneys that gloat with them, bah twice! . . , (signed) The Scoundrel." ETON'S This is no Bed - Time Story! You'll Save on Simmons Sleep Units You'll enjoy a good night's rest on this Simmon* set now specially priced. Hat 405 exclusive Auto-Lock construction with Adjusto-Rest Coil springs (4/6 size), topped by layers of buoyant white felt; crush-proof pre-built border, new scroll quilt design. 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