Pardon this diversion from the traditional use of our letters page.
We want to take the opportunity with this first edition of the new year to announce a few changes coming to the newspaper in the next several weeks.
The biggest change will come right here on the Letters page, where we plan to add a new sponsored feature that adds more opportunities for your input.
The new column will be a space where you can extend a written thank-you or congratulations — a “cheer” — to anyone you feel has done something to benefit you, another person or group, or the community as a whole.
Conversely, a “jeer” could be written to identify a failure or shortcoming.
This is typically a much shorter form version of a letter to the editor, usually a paragraph or two.
This page’s other rules, however, remain in place. First, letters must be signed. Second, this is not a spot to bash a neigbour over some perceived personal shortcoming or character flaw.
It’s a well-worn cliché, but be hard on the problem, not the person.
Additionally, letters from outside the North Island readership area will no longer be run, unless they directly address a North Island issue or people.
Minor changes in the appearance of the front page are also coming, but we will endeavor to continue bringing you coverage of the issues that matter to North Islanders.