If you want to talk back to the newspaper - and get your views before thousands of people - the best way to do it is to write a letter to the editor.
It's not difficult to get your views printed in the Deseret News. We like letters. We print almost all we receive, even though we get many of them. We devote a lot of space to letters.Letters are reviewed by our publisher, Jim Mortimer, and then handled by Richard Laney, editorial page editor, and Hal Knight, editorial writer and letter editor.
We think it's important for people, whether they be experts or novices, young or old, to have their say. We're glad to fulfill our community responsibility and provide a public forum where citizens' views can be aired.
Letters to the editor are fun to read. All sorts of interesting (to put it mildly) opinions exist out there. However, readers ought to know that letters aren't necessarily an accurate gauge of public sentiments. It is generally (though not always) the most angry, most upset, most opinionated people who write letters. So you get a bit of a warped view of society if you believe letters reflect majority opinion. It's a bit like listening to talk radio.
We obviously don't run obscene or libelous letters and many letters have to be edited for length. If a good reason exists, we will withhold the name of the writer, but the name and address must be included in the information sent to us.
Some letters that never see print are quite interesting. A fellow named Eugene Changey, from Ohio, regularly writes to Mortimer and 500 other editors around the country. His letters always begin this way: "As Almighty God, I greet you!"
Actually, Changey believes he is the second-born son of God, and that God speaks through him. His letters are full of vulgarity, profanity and vitriolic attacks on various people.
Recently, a reporter from the Sentinel-Tribune in Ohio visited Changey to do a feature story on him. Changey showed the reporter many of the responses he's received to his letters. One anonymous response went this way (remember that Changey claims to be the son of God):
"Boy, I'm a good a-mind to wash your foul mouth out with lye soap and holy water." Signed, "Dad."