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Still performing an essential job

We have always been very proud of the number of letters to the editor that appear in The Maui News.

It is safe to say the volume of letters that appear in this small community newspaper reflects an engaged public that cares deeply about governmental and societal matters.

To recap, in the Weekender Edition of Aug. 10-11, The Maui News printed 15 letters to the editor. Last Tuesday’s edition of the paper featured eight letters. Friday’s newspaper had 16 letters from our readers and our latest Weekender Edition (Aug. 17-18) sported 14 more missives.

Mind you, these letters are from people who put their name on their opinions. There is no hiding behind the anonymity of blind comments that is the curse of the internet. We require names on our letters and we check to make sure the submissions are valid. We also don’t allow personal attacks.

Perhaps the reason we are feeling doubly proud of our letter writers today is because many people doubt the value of a newspaper in a world dominated by the internet. We feel that newspapers provide the essential function of watchdog over governmental actions, as well as keeping the public informed about what activities friends and neighbors are participating in.

We’re very happy, for example, that one of our sister newspapers is based in Williamsport, Pa., home of the Little League World Series. That connection helps us cover East Central Maui’s battle for the championship this week.

Of course, we are very proud of the work our news staff here does covering county government, the courts, local sports, schools, entertainment and community leaders.

And the number of letters to the editor seems to validate what our employees are doing. A lot of our neighbors still believe The Maui News is a valuable community forum.

So, we thank our letter writers for their vote of confidence. We hope more advertisers will take note of this as well.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.