In 1953, during confirmation hearings, President Eisenhower’s secretary of defense nominee, a former CEO of General Motors, said, “What was good for our country was
Our part of the country (as well as the world) has received some sobering news recently, in the form of two major climate reports —
By Tim Whyte Signal Editor So I spent a good portion of Monday night driving through residential neighborhoods, blasting music at concert-level volume via a
By David Hegg In the days following Thanksgiving I read an insightful article on the irony of Black Friday sales. The author lamented that, just
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The United States of America has illegal aliens entering the country in open disobedience of the laws. They are encouraged to do this by organizations
President Trump cannot disband a federal grand jury. The grand jury is protected by a chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District
In his perceptive column, Noah Peterson makes an excellent point about how private school-choice programs could be even more of a force for uplifting all
Re: Lois Eisenberg, Nov. 17: I read your letter regarding anti-Semitism! Lois, what I want to know is, how one woman can have so much
By The Signal Editorial Board There’s a certain amount of common sense that you want to point out when people are surprised by holiday traffic.
By The Signal Editorial Board There’s a long and storied history of Santa Clarita Valley residents playing the role of David versus one Goliath or
By The Signal Editorial Board Forgive us for still feeling a little Thanksgiving afterglow, but today we’re especially thankful for a current example of the
By The Signal Editorial Board Change can be sudden, or it can be gradual. You might think we’ve seen sudden change in the community with
Submit a Column
Political commentary is the backbone of The Signal’s Opinion page. While syndicated columnists who address state, national or world issues are part of our mix, our focus as a community newspaper is on local columnists who address local issues, and we welcome your contributions.
To be considered for publication, all Opinion columnists must follow and comply with the guidelines and parameters below. Column submissions that fail to do so will not be published.
Columns should be no longer than 750 words in length.
A column is essentially an essay. With that in mind, we offer the following column-writing “do’s”:
•Do have a clear point, and make it just one clear point. A practiced essayist may be able to imply the point of his/her essay, but we recommend a clear statement of the point – what essayists call a thesis statement.
We don’t want readers scratching their heads at the end of the column and asking themselves, “Now, what was that all about?”
•Do have a clear goal, which is usually persuasion. Unless the goal is strictly informational, which political columns usually are not, your column should be aimed at persuading readers to agree with your point of view and/or to take action on your arguments.
The most effective way to persuade is by logical, reasoned argument. That’s not to say emotion can’t be part of an effective argument, but arguments should be grounded in a logical appeal. Each argument should be supported by specifics — examples, analogies, anecdotes.
Alternatively, the column may recount one long story/anecdote that illustrates your point, but it should be specific and well told.
•Do have an awareness of audience. Our audience is, of course, The Signal’s readers. It’s not just the City Council or a water board or town council. It’s much broader than that. Address the public.
•Do seek fresh, thoughtful topics. Trust your personal impressions/feelings, but analyze them for logic. Being a local paper, we of course value columns that deal with local issues. But if we’ve already published 16 columns on the hospital expansion, for example, we would appreciate it if you sought topics elsewhere — unless, of course, you have a spanking-new perspective that nobody else has mentioned.
•Back up your claims. Attribute your information. It will add credibility to your point of view. “A recent poll said that…” is not enough. Cite the poll, study or whatever, who or what entity released it, and when. Provide a Web address if possible. Columns with unattributed information will be returned for revision.
We cannot emphasize strongly enough the following: Plagiarism of any kind will not be tolerated.
Put simply, plagiarism is the theft of intellectual property. It is stealing other people’s ideas — not just their words, but their thoughts — and passing those off as one’s own.
Avoiding plagiarism can be as simple as noting: “An essay by so-and-so says this …” – reminding the reader of the attribution frequently and quoting the author when appropriate.
Also, we offer some column-writing “don’ts”:
•No shameless plugs. You’re attempting to sell your point of view, not a product or service.
•Don’t engage in mudslinging and shrill accusations. That’s counterproductive. True, public figures such as City Council members are virtually impervious to libel. But if your goal is persuasion, are you going to win hearts by calling the opposition the slime of the earth? No. Name-calling does not constitute an argument; all it does is drive away everyone who doesn’t already agree with you. A reasoned argument will be much more effective.
Thank you for your interest in contributing to The Signal’s Opinion page. We look forward to helping you share your voice with the community.
Submit a Letter to the Editor
Letters may also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed to (661) 255-9689, or mailed to: Letter to the Editor, P.O. Box 801870, Santa Clarita CA 91380-1870. Letters must be confirmed by phone before being considered for publication. They should be limited to one topic or issue of public interest and may be edited for content, grammar, spelling and length (please keep to 300 words or fewer).
Anonymous letters, letters written by or forwarded from other sources, those involving personal or business disputes, and those deemed inappropriate for publication will not be printed. You may be limited to one letter every two weeks. Letters and articles submitted may be published in print, electronic or other forms. Letters, columns and cartoons express the opinions of the authors and not The Signal.