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Letters to editors and letters from readers

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I read at least two newspapers everyday, and one feature I like is - letters to editor. Sometimes, you also hear of 'success stories' (like Nisho's about an open drain) resulting from these letters.

Well, I am a fan of this reality-TV like content. If you ask me, newspapers can chose to go the rediff way (have you seen their news article based bulletin boards?) and start having an extra page full of these letters from readers. Yes that will sell well :) But actually, I read these letters - especially the ones that complain about a local service or public amenity - because they put me in these chains of thoughts:

How would a newspaper decide which letters to pick and publish? Or is it that very few people write to the newspapers? I think not. I can imagine them getting lot more letters than they publish.

Then I think about people who write these in. They must be the real concerned folks wanting a voice. Why did they write to the newspaper instead of going directly to people who should fix the problem in question (open drain, bad road, electricity problem etc etc)? Do all of them exhaust that option before writing in? Why do they expect that writing to the newspaper will help solve their problem?

In cases where a letter-to-editor actually gets a problem solved or addressed, the concerned service provider is using the newspaper as the medium of feedback. How roundabout!? Why would that service provider be not equally diligent in working on its official channel of feedback as part of regular work? Is that because things in newspapers put extra pressure on them - and they are afraid of that pressure and exposure?

What is that pressure that newspapers put on our service providers (aka government bodies)? Is that the power of media, or the pressure of "people", rather the pressure of "us"?

To be continued ...


shas3n's picture

My take

99 users have liked.
.. on this is that by posting the problems in newspapers the readers are trying to put pressure on the authorities. I presume that many officers at higher level make it a point to read these letters and give their subordinates a nice wake-up call. I guess this does happen. Note that there are not many direct ways of reaching a higher officer in Govt offices without going through the subordinate first. So, the news papers provide readers a way to directly communicate with the higher authorities. It is an indirect arm-twisting strategy :) In these days of internet, I presume it will be much easier for everyone to reach everyone else irrespective of the hierarchy. I am looking forward to the day when all the officers are approachable through e-mail or a website and use the medium to its fullest capacity. -Shastri

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