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Newspaper Editors Keep Eye Out for Campaign Form Letters

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By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis – Newspaper editors across the country are keeping a closer eye on just who's writing them.

That's because political campaigns are using their websites to urge letter writers.

The idea isn't new. But Ray Gunter says he's seen more of the form letters this year.

Gunter puts together the Letters to the Editor page in the Post-Dispatch.

He says he throws out form letters he finds because the page should be saved for original thoughts.

"When we get these letter-writing campaigns these are not very much of a cross-section, they're people who are committed to a candidate or a cause," Gunter said. "But these are not Mr. and Mrs. John Doe that are sitting down to write a letter."

John Kerry's campaign website, for example, offers a list of talking points they can address when writing a letter to the editor.

Gunter says he's pretty good at weeding out the form letters, but adds a few have probably gotten through.

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