Here are some numbers I shared with the community panel just yesterday. In September, I basically was Lucy Ricardo on the assembly line:
Number of letters received in 2008 through Nov. 30: 16,354
We average more than 1,400 letters a month and have room to print fewer than 300. It's usually more like 275.
Tips I would give people:
The limit is 200 words. If you send a 250-word letter, you take a chance that I have time to trim it. Most days that's a big chance.
Priority is given to letters that are responding to editorials, letters and news stories that have been in the paper. The vast majority of letters we run, in fact, are responding to something that has been in the paper, unless I choose to print something else, like a thank you to a person who turned in a lost purse, for instance. That's completely subjective and somewhat rare.
If you include a reference to what editorial, letter or news story you are responding to, you have a much better chance of seeing your letter in print. Sometimes I have time to figure out what you're talking about, and sometimes I don't.
We like civil discourse. If you use the word "idiot," that's grounds for the trashcan. : )
E-mail is absolute best (not an attachment and NOT a pdf. just paste it in the e-mail). Fax is the worst. Bringing it physically to the building and handing it to the security guard and hoping it finds its way to me is the absolute worst.
Short is always better.
Funny is best.