The Sentinel has different ways for readers to express their viewpoints in their own words.
Here are some guides on how to do that, as well as information on the editorial board, which writes The Sentinel's editorials:
Letters to the Editor | Op-Ed columns (guest opinion) | Editorial board information | Meet the editorial board
A guide to letters to the editor
Because we believe in a robust, civil discourse on matters of public importance, The Sentinel welcomes letters from its readers and publishes nearly every letter that deals with public issues affecting the community.
We can only print the letters we receive, so if you don’t see your viewpoint represented, we encourage you to write in and share your opinion!
You can send letters by e-mail or by mail, but mailed letters will take longer to process, because they have to be typed in by a staff member.
Mail: Send to Reader Opinion, P.O. Box 546, Keene, N.H. 03431. Letters may also be dropped off at our office, 60 West St., Keene.
Have questions or want to know where your letter stands? Contact Opinion Page Editor Bill Bilodeau at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 603-355-8564.
Note: Letters submitted to Reader Opinion become the property of The Sentinel, and writers consent to their letters being published in the newspaper, its affiliated publications or its online services.
Want to contribute your voice to our conversations? Find answers to some commonly asked questions here:
If a letter contains obvious, verifiable falsities or false narratives, it will either be withheld, or the writer will be contacted to revisit those points. Misinformation does not add to the public debate.
If you have questions about why your letter wasn’t published, please contact Bill Bilodeau at email@example.com or call 603-355-8564.
Here are some other general guidelines for why we would not publish a letter:
- It contains gratuitous name-calling or insults, or foul language
- If it seems part of an organized letter-writing campaign or very similar to previously published letters
- If it’s signed by a group or organization. Letters are a personal statement of opinion, and as we see it, should bear the signature of the authors only. We may allow one or two additional signees, and list others who’ve given their permission for their names to appear. If the list is lengthy, we may only publish it online, due to the limited amount of space in the printed paper.
- Letters that may raise legal concerns
- Letters that tout your own business, group or organization, or that seek to benefit the writer financially
- Complaints about service at a specific business or agency, or personal disputes with others
- If the letter writer is from outside the Monadnock Region, and isn’t writing about an issue concerning the region or in response to an item in The Sentinel
- If your letter is focused on announcing an event, only describes what occurred at an event, or if it thanks numerous people who helped at your event, it will be published in our Community section instead.
- In the event that a debate among letter writers gets out of hand and no longer contributes to the public discussion, The Sentinel reserves the right to curtail further letters on that topic.
A guide to guest opinions (also known as op-eds)
The Sentinel publishes guest opinions, also known as op-ed columns, from syndicated sources available to a news organization of our size. These include The Washington Post, Bloomberg, Tribune News Service, Cagle Cartoons, as well as local and national independent columnists, which, in total, we believe represent a spectrum of voices.
We also appreciate the variety of perspectives that come from people sharing their point of view on a topic of local importance. We accept these submissions when we feel they add to the public discourse and to people’s understanding of the topic, and are from someone with demonstrable expertise, such as a degree in the field they’re discussing or experience in that field, or having to examine the topic as part of an official duty, such as lawmakers.
These columns are different from letters to the editor because they take a more in-depth look at issues, and, importantly, they have a central and specific argument that the writer builds the column around.
Examples of submissions we wouldn’t accept include self-promotional pieces, letters to the editor that run longer than the word limit, pieces from a candidate actively running for office, and pieces that are simply political attacks.
To get feedback on a possible submission for a guest opinion column, contact Bill Bilodeau at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 603-355-8564.
Columns are subject to editing for clarity, inappropriate language or if they contain significant spelling or grammatical issues. More substantial writing changes will be discussed with the writer.
The Keene Sentinel’s editorial board operates independently from the local news reporters and editors and is solely responsible for the opinion pieces — called editorials — that are periodically published in the opinion section of The Sentinel and its online platform, www.sentinelsource.com.
The board’s members are Publisher Thomas Ewing; Managing Editor-News Operations Bill Bilodeau; and former Sentinel staff member Laurie Kaiser (you can read more about them below). They produce editorials on a variety of local, state, national and global topics. These opinions are the work of the board as a whole and reflect only the members’ discussions and their consensus view.
The Sentinel has produced editorials for most of its more than 220-year history. We do so because we believe that vigorous debate and the expression of ideas strengthen democracy and ensure freedom, and that it’s important to point out when those in power operate in the public’s interest and, more importantly, call them out when they do not. In its editorials, the board researches and synthesizes information about issues, public officials and candidates to help the public better understand them and understand why the board has taken a particular position. And we welcome readers to respond to editorials in our Reader Opinion section.
The editorial board typically meets weekly to discuss potential topics for its editorials. The board also meets with political candidates for office, and with local government, school, nonprofit and business leaders to gain a better understanding of efforts and programs affecting Monadnock Region communities. These meetings may be initiated by the board or the community leaders. When possible, video recordings of these meetings are posted on sentinelsource.com as a service to readers.
The editorial board plays no role in determining news coverage, nor do the views of the board factor into the writing of news stories. And the board’s endorsements of political candidates are its views alone, and do not involve The Sentinel’s news reporters in any way.
During election years, the editorial board endorses candidates in some political races as part of our overall mission to serve as a civic partner, contribute to public dialog about the races and empower people to engage in their communities. The board assesses candidates’ positions based on interviews, statements and other published material and makes a reasoned argument why they would best serve the interests of the city, region, state and country.
Meet the editorial board
Tom Ewing is publisher of The Keene Sentinel, which, since 1799, has served the news and information needs of Keene and southwestern New Hampshire, now through its daily print edition and its online offerings on SentinelSource.com and other digital platforms. Before coming to The Sentinel in 1993, he served on Congressional and executive branch investigative staffs and was a practicing attorney. He is a graduate of Hamilton College and Duke University School of Law and lives in Keene.
Laurie Kaiser joined The Sentinel as a copy editor in 2020, after moving to Hinsdale from Cape Cod when her husband retired from the U.S. Air Force. A native of Plymouth, Mass., she worked as a newspaper reporter and editor in southeastern Massachusetts for more than a decade before becoming a teacher. She began working for newspapers at age 18 as a stringer while earning a bachelor’s degree from Suffolk University in Boston. Her first full-time job involved covering town board meetings for the Brockton Enterprise, and she later worked as an editor for Mariner Newspapers in Marshfield. After earning a master’s degree from Brown University, she worked as an assistant professor of English and journalism at Gulf Coast Community College in Florida for four years before she and her husband, Jon Davis, transferred to Cape Cod, where they lived for more than 22 years. During that time, Laurie undertook a variety of freelance projects, including launching a home-remodeling magazine for Northeast Publications, while being the primary caregiver for the couple’s daughter, Allegra, now a museum curator in New York. She has continued as an editorial board member after leaving full-time work at The Sentinel in March 2022, and has been editor of The Business Journal of Greater Keene, Brattleboro and Peterborough since November 2022.