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Burbank, your newspaper needs you!

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following editorial was first published on Nov.

13, 2002. Although some of the topics have changed, the message is as

applicable now as it was then.

It’s not often in the newspaper business that we ask something of


our readers. Through editorials we might urge a commission or council

to vote a certain way, or blast them for not doing so.

But rarely do we ask our readers to do something for us, and this

time, what we’re asking is fairly simple.


Write to us.

As of Monday, when letters to the editor were compiled for this

Community Forum page, we had exactly one usable note. One, in a town

of more than 100,000. And this is not the first time we’ve made this

plea, not even the first time this year. Back in July, we wrote an

editorial about a reader who called to complain that in the redesign

of the Burbank Leader, we’d stopped running letters on the Forum

page. Sadly, we just hadn’t had any in a while. And it’s happening



It’s not that there isn’t anything going on around town -- in the

past few issues, we’ve added question boxes to articles, trying to

solicit more response on some hot topics. For example, the

Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority announced last week that

it is not going to pursue building a new terminal. With all the

grousing that goes on at City Council meetings by gadflies and

council members themselves, you’d think someone would have an opinion


about the airport dropping its bid for a replacement terminal. But

you wouldn’t know it at the Leader office. Why? Because no one wrote

a letter, e-mailed a missive or faxed a note.

In its mission statement, the Leader promises to undertake four

major endeavors for readers and advertisers. We will be:

* A community watchdog.

* A community builder.

* A newspaper of record.

* A “town hall” for discussion of local issues and concerns.

We work every day to fulfill the first three, but the last one is

pretty much up to you, dear readers. We provide the forum, but you

have to fill it. You don’t have to be an accomplished writer to

string some words together in a coherent fashion and tell the

community what you think of issues going on in city government,

schools, business, police and fire departments, parks, animal

shelter, your neighborhood ... you name it! Be your own community

watchdog, builder or cheerleader!

And now that we’ve convinced you to settle down at the kitchen

table, or computer, or wherever you feel inspired, let us give you a

few tips on getting published. The Community Forum page is a set size

every issue (we publish on Wednesdays and Saturdays, in case you’re

new to the Leader) so the shorter your letter, the sooner its chances

of winding up in the homes of, hopefully, everyone in town. Simply

said, letters should be 350 words or less. If you have so much news

to share with the citizens of Burbank that you simply can’t keep it

short, your letter can be no longer than 700 words. That makes it a

Community Commentary submission and we will run it when space allows.

(If you write about a timely subject, it’ll get moved higher on our

priority list.)

Of course, we reserve the right not to publish certain letters,

namely ones that are libelous, racist, violent or otherwise obviously


And when you write -- notice we said “when,” not “if” -- that’s

how great our faith is in you -- be sure to include your full name,

city of residence and telephone number so we can confirm the receipt

of your letter. We won’t print your phone number.

So, people of Burbank, get busy! Your newspaper needs you!