Just a Thought – Public, Private, Secret

firstamendment3The huge response to one of our recent ‘Letter to the Editor’ posts had several people asking “Why was this even published?” we thought it time to remind our readers what our standards are, and why.

Letters to the Editor need to meet three requirements.

  1. They must be written by a real person, signed with a real name, sent from a real email address so we can contact you. While pseudonymous signatures may be either amusing or confusing, they don’t play here. Own what you say or don’t say it.
  2. They may not use obscene language. This is a filter issue, and it’s important that this publication can be accessed on any computer at any time, including our school system and our library.
  3. They may not make threats towards anyone.

We have, more than once, published letters and left comments up that were angry, accusatory and ugly. This is a public forum, and public means everyone gets a voice. If we were to apply a more stringent standard ( let’s say we only publish the things we like and agree with) then we risk disenfranchising people.

Culver City Crossroads was created in December of 2009 to serve Culver City’s need for public media. Looking around at other publications, both weekly papers and daily websites, we feel they fall far short. While the tremendous activity on Facebook and Instagram might feel like ‘news’ to you, it is and it isn’t. Your algorithm filters these things for you, while using your information to tailor ads that might persuade you to purchase. In a social media universe, it’s easy to forget that there are other points of view. While a ‘closed group’ isn’t a ‘secret society’ people unfamiliar with how social media works might find there are enough similarities to warrant consideration.

Social media is not journalism. By it’s very nature, it can’t be.

Keeping a healthy respect for the First Amendment means giving it a place to live. Allowing our community to process challenges and disagreements through dialogue is essential to finding resolutions. Letters to the Editor – real letters – can be a part of that process.

“All human beings have three lives,” according to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, “public, private and secret.” Culver City Crossroads is here to give the public a forum where they know they have a venue to speak out, even if what they say isn’t popular.

It isn’t about how many of us agree. It’s about all of us being respected members of the community.

Please send letters to [email protected].

Judith Martin-Straw


The Actors' Gang


  1. Thank you Judith for providing a forum that all can access as long as they keep things clean and non-threatening. We need a forum for an exchange of ideas in CC that all have access to, so that everyone has a place to speak and everyone can hear what is said.

  2. Well stated. Over the years a number of unsigned flyers have been dropped on doorsteps making negative allegations about candidates accusing them of dishonesty, conflicts of interest and so forth. I am personally tired of these angry screeds and although I recycle the paper I find it as an assault on free and democratic process where one can consider who the speaker is in the evaluation.

    We have enough unsupported, vitriolic, fact-bending, and one-sided comments in the national political scene. To the people who write and leave these negative commentaries, I would prefer if you would stop littering my doorstep and those of my neighbors. Write a letter to this blog or the newspapers, identify yourself, and above all state the full facts instead of one-sided allegations.

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