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From the Publisher's Desk


Dear Readers,

This morning, as I sipped my coffee and flipped through the mail, I encountered yet another "ghost" letter – you know, the kind that comes with no name, no return address, just a floating voice in a paper envelope. It's a common occurrence around here, something that both Managing Editor Abby Hess and I have noticed. And believe it or not, on this topic, Abby and I are singing the same tune – which is a headline in itself! If you know us, you'll know that Abby and I agreeing on something is as rare as a quiet news day in West Plains. So, mark your calendars, folks!

The letter in question, much like its predecessors, chose to remain anonymous, shrouded in mystery. Now, don't get me wrong, I see the value in anonymity, especially in situations where whistleblowers are involved, where the stakes are high and personal safety is at risk. But let's be real, that's not what we're dealing with here. Instead, this letter seemed to be under the impression that our lack of response to such anonymous tips indicates a lack of care for our town. I beg to differ.

You see, we get these anonymous inputs somewhat frequently. They range from criticism of our coverage to accusations of us being modern-day Robin Hoods (but not in a good way). The anonymity seems to embolden some folks to use language that, let's just say, wouldn't be suitable for our family-friendly newspaper. I've been called names that would make a sailor blush, and so has Abby. It's all in a day's work, coming from our friends "Mr. or Ms. Anonymous."

Here's the thing that puzzles me – why the secrecy? In my book, if you've got something to say, own it. Stand behind your words. Abby and I constantly remind everyone that our doors are always open. We're in the business of communication, after all. Your thoughts, your concerns, your insights – they're the lifeblood of this newspaper. But, and it's a big but, if you're planning to drop us a line or give us a ring, just to hurl anonymous accusations or unleash a tirade of vulgarities, well, don't expect us to roll out the red carpet.

We're all for constructive criticism. In fact, we welcome it with open arms – it's what helps us grow, what keeps us in check. But let's keep it respectful, productive, and above all, let's put a name to it. After all, this is your newspaper. It's a reflection of our community, of you, our readers.

So, in closing, let me leave you with a thought from the great Mark Twain, who famously said, "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." If you believe in something strongly enough to say it, have the conviction to sign your name to it. It's about taking responsibility for our words, and that, dear readers, is what builds a strong, transparent, and healthy community.

Warm Regards,
Chris Herbolsheimer
West Plains Daily Quill & West Plains Gazette