Dear "Sleepless in Sedona,"
While we appreciate your letter regarding noisy trash collection, we’re afraid we can’t do anything with it.
The Sedona Red Rock News receives hundreds of letters each month. Some letters are signed with contact information, as our policy requires, while other writers use aliases or simply leave letters unsigned.
The course for a letter without a signature, or a realsignature, is also defined. None make it on Page 4, few turn into stories and most end up in the trash.
It’s true reporters sometimes use tips from anonymous letters to investigate leads the reporter may not have otherwise known about, but that’s if the letter makes it into the “possibly credible” pile.
Without knowing who wrote a letter, it makes it hard for us to determine if it’s even worth reading twice. If the vice president of the United States wrote us an anonymous letter saying the entire Congress would be in Sedona for a private retreat we wouldn’t believe it because for all we know John Q down the street wrote the letter to attract media attention.
However, if the vice president signed the letter, we would take the letter seriously and send our reporters on the hunt.
Obviously we aren’t receiving bags of mail from national officials but the point is a letter loses value without a name at the bottom.
Most recently we’ve received letters attacking our work and us personally from people in the community not mature enough to sign their letter. Everything we write, we put our name on and we accept responsibility for its content, unless it compromises the safety of one of our employees.
It’s easy for “Many Readers” to sit back and criticize us because they won’t be held accountable for what they write. We are held accountable for our remarks and we take time, thought and consideration before we release those thoughts to the public.
It’s easier to criticize with the knowledge nobody will ever know it was you but if you want to be the bigger person, sign your name.
Luckily, we are forced to develop thick skin in this business and inappropriate comments about us or our families — yes, we get those, too — are only a blip in the day. Most often, we have a pretty good idea who either sent the letter or was behind it, and so do the police officers we discuss them with. You have to remember, we’re trained reporters and mentioning specific information only helps narrow the search.
We understand there are times when anonymity is appropriate — a life is in danger, a victim of a crime speaks out — but usually, there isn’t a good reason to send an anonymous letter.
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