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Globe will charge fee to publish political endorsement letters

WORTHINGTON — The Globe will begin charging for political endorsement letters to the editor beginning July 28.

Most newspapers that have adopted this approach cite one main reason: Political campaigns for years have used newspaper opinion pages for what amounts to free advertising. As these letter-writing campaigns become more widespread and sophisticated —  some campaigns even pay people to write letters to the editor —  newspapers are flooded with requests to publish them, especially in the run-up to elections.

“Due to the volume of endorsement letters, publishers and editors of FCC papers decided to be consistent about which letters are published and the length of the endorsement letters published,” said Matt McMillan, company vice president for newspapers.

The new policy for political endorsement letters to The Globe reads:

"Election-related letters to the editor advocating for or against a candidate, ballot measure or political party will be considered ads and are subject to a charge of $25 for the first 7 inches and $10 for each inch thereafter.

“As with other letters to the editor, they must be submitted with the writer’s name, address and phone number (only the writer’s name and city are published).”

The Globe retains the right to reject any letter that doesn’t meet its publishing standards and will decide whether a letter is subject to the fee, at which point the letter writer may decide whether to pay to have it published.

McMillan said the fee is set below business advertising rates.

The paid political endorsement letters will publish on a certain day each week and may or may not run on the Opinion page itself. All paid letters will be identified as such.

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