"What happens to all the Rants and Raves that aren't used? The VDT should display all views. We all have the right to speak, and some good points aren't getting out there. If there isn't enough room in the paper, maybe you could post them on your Web site."
This recent Rant reflects the amazing popularity of that particular feature. Readers get upset if they cannot get their Rants or Raves published.
Space is, in fact, the main issue. We run about 100 column inches of them each week over five days of publication. That's room for about 60 percent of those that are called in or e-mailed.
Subject matter is another standard for judgment. Quite frankly, some issues would go on forever unless we brought an end to them.
As the lucky person who gets to edit them, I try to balance the viewpoints, but I also try to keep them fresh. At some point, one side of a debate is going to get the last word. But I don't exactly keep records.
The column is not supposed to be that serious. It's anonymous, which is why we attach a lot less significance to the contributions than we would to a signed letter to the editor. If you want to increase your chance of being heard, write and send a signed letter to the editor.
Some readers object to the fact the Rants are not signed, but others say they could never sign their names to some of the complaints. They don't want their neighbors to know they don't like them speeding through the neighborhood.
We don't allow readers to criticize private individuals or businesses. For all we know, the criticisms of the business might be coming from its competitor. Public figures, especially elected officials, are fair game, and so are governmental entities.
Another way to prevent your Rant from being used is to ramble on for more than 30 seconds. I automatically delete them. Shorter is better, and that also would allow more Rants or Raves to be published.
Obscenities or calling someone an idiot or moron also will disqualify your submission.
I try to use all the Raves, if possible, only because we need to know about these acts of kindness, altruism and goodwill that will never merit a news story. They make me feel better about society. I hope they balance out all the complaints.
We would like to see more humorous comments, like the ones published in the Vent in the Atlanta newspaper. Of course, it receives thousands of submissions, and only about 20 a day are published.
Also, we don't use caller ID on the Rant line, so readers should rest assured of their anonymity. Also the Rants sent through Web site appear without addresses.
Starting Monday, The Valdosta Daily Times' weather page will be enhanced with the help of meteorologists from WCTV, Channel 6, out of Tallahassee.
They will provide our daily five-day forecasts for each edition of the week.
The weather in these parts seems pretty static to me. For about nine months a year, it's hot and hotter. And the other three months fluctuate between warm and cold.
But people always like to talk about the weather. The success of The Weather Channel is just one reflection of that interest. The WCTV contributions should benefit our readers.
Ron Wayne is the editor of The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be reached at 244-3400, ext. 229, or e-mailed at email@example.com.
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