Your editorial page (January 31, 2017) is timely. Well-crafted letters to a newspaper, whether agreeable or not, far outshine the stuff now to be read on Facebook (or social media), which is often poorly researched, cranky, defamatory, misspelt and anonymous.
It’s the first place I turn to in newspapers I regularly read (always in hard-copy).
Over the years I have had at least 100 published, starting in the middle 1960s, when I wrote, from London, advocating the introduction of smokeless fuel fireplaces into the many new houses being built in Ireland at the time.
It is sad to see, in recent times, the fine Sunday Business Post ceasing to publish any letters.
It excludes, as you rightly mention, agents for change from amongst the public who occasionally write to the papers.
My favourite newspaper of all was the Dublin Evening Mail, which published a full page of letters each evening; it is sadly no longer with us.
It has gradually become fashionable for newspapers to publish regular pulpiteers’ pieces, usually, but not always by whole-time journalists.
Their propaganda has not been matched by more column inches for combative letter writers!
The Irish Times, for instance, prides itself as being a “paper of record”, but it has a religious mission statement, reflected in its several crusading, religious journalists.
There’s clearly a tension between its religious stance and the views of writers like myself who point out the abuses of civil liberties by, and hypocrisies among, church zealots.
As it happens, I haven’t had a letter published by The Irish Times for many months.
At least most Irish newspapers publish readers’ views, whether critical or not.
However, RTÉ, the broadcaster established by the State and subsidised by us citizens, provides no equivalent forum for viewers’ or listeners views.
It is just not acceptable, given the influence the broadcaster has over older age groups.
Youngsters have little time for RTÉ, as RTÉ’s own surveys show. What do readers think?
John Colgan,Dublin Road St,Leixlip,Co Kildare.