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February may be the shortest month of the year, but you wouldn’t know it from reading The Wilson Times’ editorial page.
We published 27 letters to the editor in February’s 24 editions of the paper — the Times is printed every day except Sundays — and letter-writers produced a combined total of 8,167 words. That’s an average of about 302 words per letter.
Writers weighed in on the timely topics of school safety, gun laws and mass shootings following the Feb. 14 tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that claimed 17 lives. Second Amendment stalwarts and gun control advocates made their respective cases on this page. Various letters also addressed immigration policy, President Donald Trump and the fate of North Carolina’s Confederate monuments.
Which letters made the most salient points and left a lasting impact? Whose selection of facts and command of rhetoric made the most compelling case? That’s for you, collectively, to decide.
The Wilson Times is inviting readers to take part in an online vote to choose the most popular letter to the editor published during the month of February. The letter that receives the most votes will be nominated for the John D. Gold Award for local commentary.
Yes, we’re a little bit behind — it’s already April, after all. Another weekly contest will open soon to determine the top letter published in the month of March. But before we pick last month’s winner, we need to crown a monthly champion for February. That’s where you come in.
Visit WilsonTimes.com, scroll down to the Letters to the Editor section on the homepage and click on the John D. Gold Award box to review February’s letters and cast your vote. You can also type the shortened link https://bit.ly/2IgS9sj directly into your web browser.
The voting period for February’s letters ends at 5 p.m. Friday, April 6.
ABOUT OUR CONTESTS
From political pugilism to poignant life lessons to explorations of community problems and their solutions, letters to the editor published on this opinion page help set the tone for Wilson County’s civic discourse. Reviving a tradition begun in the early 2000s, the Times is recognizing local letter-writers for excellence in community commentary.
The Elizabeth Swindell Award is given by the Times editorial board and the John D. Gold Award is decided by public online vote. Monthly winners for the Swindell and Gold awards will be selected and the 12 finalists in each category will compete for the annual honors.
All letters to the editor published in a calendar month are eligible for John D. Gold Award voting. To participate, visit WilsonTimes.com and click on the “John D. Gold Award” button beneath the letters to the editor on the Times homepage.
Vote for your favorite letter by clicking the green “Vote” button at the bottom of each entry. The letter with the most online votes will be February’s monthly winner and a finalist for the 2018 Gold Award.
Times readers selected “Wilson community made red kettle drive a success,” by Jake Law, pastor and corps officer of The Salvation Army of Wilson, as the monthly winner and John D. Gold Award nominee for the month of January.
Editors picked “Good Samaritans come through for stranded motorist” by Tom Haitema of Wilson as the Elizabeth Swindell Award nominee for January. Taking top honors in the Swindell contest for February was “Don’t saddle teachers with armed security duties” by Dave Dolman of Wilson.
Monthly winners in the Gold and Swindell contests are reprinted on this page with an editor’s note designating them as letters of the month in their respective categories.
Most newspapers accept and publish letters to the editor, but the Times is unique in its efforts to recognize and thank letter-writers for their contributions to local public discourse. In order to encourage civil discussion and debate and to elevate the conversation, we need participation from the many readers who use and enjoy this forum.
Take some time this week to review February’s letters and choose the one you like best. The decision is in your hands.