Once upon a time, election season brought outpourings of letters from candidates, supporters and opponents. And once upon a time (late 1990s to mid-2000s), we tried to print most or all of them — page after page after free page.
Occasionally, some of those candidates actually bought political ads in the same issues.
The Great Recession hit (for newspapers, it began in 2007) and newsprint space just got too expensive to give away page after page of what amounted to free campaign advertising.
Thus, in 2013 The Citizen changed its letters policy to restrict free political advertising after qualifying ended and in the weeks leading up to the elections.
The policy — which extends through any runoffs — is this:
1. After Oct. 1, we will print no free letters from, for or against any candidates or ballot issue, regardless of the subject matter. Candidates and ballot issue supporters or opponents, of course, are welcome to purchase paid advertising space at any time.
2. Ample opportunity and virtually unlimited space will be available online at TheCitizen.com for registered users (using your Facebook log-in) to post their letters in support of or in opposition to candidates in the Comments section beneath this posted policy. Have your say online, subject to our online terms of service. Candidates also may avail themselves of this opportunity. — Cal Beverly, editor