Why We’re Bringing Back Letters to the Editor

You may not remember it, but Fishing Tackle Retailer magazine used to publish letters to the editor. That kind of thing was big in the publishing industry for a very long time, but it seems to have disappeared. I think it’s another of those things that the internet more or less wiped out, like independent bookstores and “friends” you’ve met face to face.

In case you’re wondering, I get very few letters these days. Likely, you can identify with that. Letters were great, and I probably took them for granted. Shame on me.

I’ve considered getting some personalized stationery so I could send people honest-to-goodness letters, but since I can never find a stamp when I need one, it’s pointless.

Luckily, we have email. It’s a tool I simultaneously praise and curse. How are all these spammers getting my address? How many times do I have to “unsubscribe” to get off their list? Is it legal to hunt and “harvest” them like game animals?

But I digress.

I’m going to bring back the “Letters to the Editor” section in FTR for a couple of reasons.

First, I want the feedback. FTR does not operate in a vacuum. There’s a big world of tackle dealers, manufacturers, reps and other industry pros and wannabe pros out there who have an opinion that’s worth sharing. I’d like to hear it, and since you and I may not cross paths anytime soon, a letter or email is my best chance to get your take on things.

Second, a letter or email has some permanence. A little gravitas. It’s more than a passing comment in the aisle at ICAST or a quick call before a dealer show. I can take a letter or email and reproduce it for all to see. And I can respond to it … if it warrants a response.

A few rules, just in case you’re in an epistolary mood:

Rule No. 1: Just because you send me a letter or email does not mean I will share it with the FTR audience. Some correspondence is private. Some may be privileged or speculative. Some may be stupid. I reserve the right to pick and choose.

Rule No. 2: Before I publish your letter or email, I’ll get your permission. I am not some rogue media person out to wreak havoc and create chaos … unless I’m on deadline. (When I’m up against a deadline I’m capable of many terrible things.)

Rule No. 3: I may edit your letter or email. Usually, my editing will be done to ensure that the letter fits available space. Occasionally, I may need to clean up the writing or grammar. Very rarely I may need to tone things down to keep them more civil. Profanity or phrases like “I hate Ken Duke” will simply not be tolerated.

Rule No. 4: I will not publish your anonymous comments. Yes, I know, these are often the “real” truth and they “need to be said,” but unless you’re willing to stand behind your words with your name and reputation, you shouldn’t expect me to print them.

Rule No. 5: If you say it and I publish it, understand that I may comment on it, too. After all, I’m the editor and communication is not a one-way street.

This starts now, and it may or may not make it into the March issue of FTR. That will depend on how many good letters or emails I get between now and the print deadline. Just know that I want to hear from you, and likely so do the readers of FTR. If you have something to say, I want to help you get it out there.

My email address is ken@fishingtackleretailer.com. No stamp necessary.