An update on your newspaper

We believe this page is one of the most important in the newspaper. It is where the newspaper gives its stance on various issues. Just as importantly, it is where readers may also give their opinions without fear of government intrusion.

Something around here we like to refer to as the First Amendment.

Letters to the Editor, which are signed by the writer, are important because an individual is willing to stand by what he or she says. Sound Offs provide readers the opportunity to vent, give an “atta boy” or take a dig at some issue. Being anonymous, Sound Offs do not carry the same weight as a signed letter.

Over the last few weeks, we have allowed anonymous Sound Offs to be printed that attack another submitter by name. We should not have allowed those and will no longer accept Sound Offs that attack specific individuals or businesses, unless we feel there are circumstances that warrant it. Politicians and public figures and public events remain fair game and may remain anonymous if the submitter so chooses.

The new policy will allow Sound Offs that mention other businesses or people, but only if the submitter includes their name — which will be printed — in the Sound Off. On other subjects, submitters may remain anonymous as we have allowed in the past.

Our goal is to have a civil discourse, an opportunity to express opposing views without stooping to name-calling. This change goes into effect today. We hope that more readers will be encouraged to write Letters to the Editor knowing anonymous attacks will not be allowed. And we encourage “signing” your name to Sound Offs. Like your vote, your opinion matters.

Other changes that have occurred include the addition of a teacher interview each week on the front of the Education section that runs on Sunday. We have also started a “Food Lust” column on the Food page, and encourage you to send in photos of meals you’ve created or had at some great restaurant. Make it fun, include the recipe, what you had, what was the event — the more information the better. Send your photos and information to closeup@newnan.com.

We’ve also started an Instagram account where our reporters and photographers will upload photos of events and happenings around Coweta County. The account is instagram.com/newnantimesherald.

And we have a new column that runs Fridays on the Weekender front page called “See and Do,” a calendar of sorts for things to, well, see and do that weekend.

Another change related to our website, times-herald.com, is the addition of our Twitter feed on the front page. Our reporters will be updating this throughout the day with meetings or events they are covering, as well as breaking news. It’s a great way to stay up on what is happening in your community.

Another change to our website is that we will be moving to a “metered-paywall” very soon. This means visitors may view a certain number of stories during a 30-day period and will then need to purchase a subscription to continue reading stories.

We will be offering an introductory rate as we implement this. There will be a small fee for non-print subscribers, and a very nominal fee for those who currently get our newspaper by home delivery. More information will be forthcoming.

And finally, this month marks our 148th year in business and we want to thank all our advertisers and readers. We are offering a year’s subscription this month for only $99, which includes home delivery, the digital edition, Coweta Living Magazine and six issues of Newnan-Coweta Magazine.

We are continuing to make changes to your newspaper to better serve you, our readers and advertisers. We appreciate your feedback and look forward to hearing from you.



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