November 25, 2012

Letters to the editor: Marriage story takes limited view

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Emilie Sommer, a wedding photographer interviewed for a recent story about the impact of the passage of Question 1 on the wedding industry in Maine, says that the story and its headline reduced “our genuine joy” over the referendum’s approval “down to dollars and cents.”

2012 File Photo/Gregory Rec


Collins' editorial points up problem with biased press

I found it very interesting, not to mention satisfying, to read Sen. Susan Collins' editorial in the paper Nov. 18 ("Another View: Sen. Collins: Editorial wrong on my position on tax increases").

Stories that feature unbiased reporting on issues facing this country are seldom seen in this newspaper. As she wrote, "This paper blindly continues to depict Republicans as stubborn obstructionists." It should be noted that there are obstructionists in both parties.

This is a crucial time for those in Congress to reach some important agreements. Is it also a crucial time for newspapers to take a fairer approach in reporting the news?

The written word, as opposed to hearing something that we so easily forget -- and usually remember only what we want to hear -- is vitally important to this country. We can read and re-read the written word and make a judgment. However, we must have the benefit of reading the opposing views on an issue, or we are left to judge on inaccurate information.

I applaud Sen. Collins for taking her valuable time to write this editorial, and thank the newspaper for printing it.

Alice Leighton


Teen's writings on WWII inspiring topic for Nemitz

I subscribe to the Maine Sunday Telegram, but not because of all the ads and coupons. They are recycled each week. Nor is it the local news, because I get enough of that in the local daily Kennebec Journal. I look forward each week to Bill Nemitz's "positive" story.

There never seem to be enough happenings that provide a pleasant, humorous or enlightening tale. Bill certainly has the capacity to find them and share them with his dedicated readers. And I consider myself one of them!

The Morgan Rielly story in the Nov. 11 edition ("Teen keeps WWII veterans' memories alive") reveals the 16-year-old young man's interest in people who served their country in times of need.

"Neighborhood Heroes" is the result of his research and writings, which capture an aspect of history that we might never know. Morgan did what he wanted to do, and as a result many of us will know more about Maine and the people who gave years of their lives to protect the world.

Rielly deserves recognition for his interest in history and preserving it. Thanks, too, to Bill Nemitz for telling us.

The Sunday Nemitz stories always add flavor to the morning coffee!

Katy Perry


New commenting policy hinders exchange of ideas

As one of the four-fifths of online commenters who did not subscribe to Facebook previously, I protest the Portland Press Herald's new policy requiring anyone who posts to be a member of Facebook now.

As a rule, I don't use cartoon words like "tweet" and "Twitter," probably because I am in an age bracket that is older than some (and possibly most) PPH commenters and am therefore somewhat less bedazzled by the latest electronic devices that purport to enhance communication.

Most of the older people I know feel as I do about the erosion of privacy in everyday life and do what they can to safeguard their own, which is why almost none of them is on Facebook.

The decision to require them to join it now or be silenced means forums will no longer have the views of many of us who've been around for a while. That's unfortunate and frankly unfair, since it very likely omits or considerably reduces a vital element of the conversation.The rationale for the policy is to make comments more civil, but that overlooks the long and honorable tradition of submitting an opinion under a pen name.

Prior to the current electronic age, if a written comment was libelous or egregiously offensive, it simply wasn't published, serving the same purpose basically as online mediation does today. Comments that are not civil can still be edited or suppressed without the author surrendering his privacy.

The result of the PPH's policy is a reduction in online comments that are not nearly as lively or provocative as in the past. Not everyone who contributes is civil or substantive, but when voices are suppressed, democracy itself suffers, and the result is a closed public forum instead of an open one.

Dan Loprieno


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