Our view: Here’s our annual reminder of the Herald’s rules regarding letters, thank-yous and Viewpoints

Letter or Viewpoint? Letters are shorter and must be signed, preferably by a single writer. Viewpoints are longer and reserved for writers with a specific expertise or stake in an issue.

Herald pull quoted, 2/1/23
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Each week, the Herald receives submissions from letter-writers. Most are published, in print and online. Some are not.

In hopes of helping writers get their work published, here is our annual refresher on the rules regarding submissions to the Herald's opinion page.

Letter or Viewpoint? Letters are shorter and must be signed, preferably by a single writer – those with numerous signatures may be rejected as a form letter. The author’s town must be included.

Viewpoints are longer and reserved for writers with a specific expertise or stake in an issue. Viewpoints must include a photo of the author. Most letters are accepted, but editors are much more discerning with Viewpoint submissions. Submitting a long letter and requesting it be printed as a Viewpoint usually will not get it published.

Our address: or Box 6008, Grand Forks, N.D., 58206.


Phone number: We won't publish phone numbers, but please include them. They help us confirm the author's identity and also to easily call if we have questions.

Real names: Letter-writers must use their real name.

Length: Letters must be 350 words or less, although a letter that ends with a strong point may be allowed another 20 or so words. Letters of 250 words are preferred.

Viewpoints should have a target of 650 words. Many writers seek exceptions on Viewpoint word count, yet our own editorials rarely exceed 530 words. (This piece is 532 words)

Style: Many writers struggle with length because they wait too long to get to the point. Avoid tired phrases ("I read with interest") and letters that make numerous points.

Name-calling: No name-calling.

Frequency: Writers are limited to once per month.

Open letters: Open letters to a third party likely will not be published.


Avoid hearsay: Stick to verifiable facts, preferably ones that can be corroborated through news coverage or public information.

Limit religion: Religion-based letters that relate to a current issue are fine, but letters simply about religion likely will not be published.

No poems: The Herald likely will not publish poems — especially about non-issues — whether original works or excerpts of other authors' work.

Don't promote an event: Letters should be about issues and opinions. However, a letter about a current issue that may include information about a related event is OK.

Third-party sites: Suggesting readers visit third-party websites may result in a letter not being published.

No business: Letters construed as advertising – or about a business doing what it is supposed to do – will not be accepted. Likewise, letters will be rejected if they disparage a private business, unless that business is involved in recent news.

Politics: During election season, the Herald charges for political letters.

Thank-you: Letters construed as personal thank-yous or thank-yous to businesses probably will not be published.


Form letters: Form letters (written by a party or person and passed around for others to sign and/or send) will not be published.

Oversaturation: Eventually, issues play out. Numerous letters that repeat previous opinions may be rejected.

Editing: Letters are subject to editing for style, length, accuracy, grammar, clarity and conformation to the rules stated above. Headlines will be edited to conform to space requirements and standards. Authors who refuse these terms will be rejected.

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