Letters to the Editor 11-08-2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2003

False letter submission hurts many

Dear Readers:

A serious incident happened in Friday's edition of the Star-News. A letter to the editor, was published that was not written by the individual listed.

A letter from Robert Lynn Stephens was published and should not have been. The letter was not verified by the staff because the editor knew the person who had allegedly written the letter. The letter was typed and dropped off with the editor's name across the envelope and the opening lines addressed specifically to the editor, by name.

This was a case of the editor personally knowing the individual who allegedly wrote the letter and took it as confirmation and verification. That was a mistake, and for that, the editor and the Star-News apologizes. This is an instance when an individual knew the editor personally knew the alleged writer and took advantage of that situation.

It will not happen again. Because of this incident, the Star-News will no longer accept any letters to the editor without written signatures, telephone numbers, addresses and a follow-up telephone call. No longer will individuals who write or email letters automatically be printed without verbal confirmation by a staff member -- no matter if the individuals are known by a staff member.

The editor and the Star-News sincerely apologizes for this matter, and for any pain the incident has caused Mr. Stephens, his family, and friends.

In the future, any individual who tries to pass off a fake letter to the editor could face prosecution, as falsely claiming to be an individual is identity theft.

Again, we apologize for this serious error and will do our best to discover the culprit and prevent further incidences like this from happening.

Jeffery Biggs


Andalusia Star-News