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Although many community newspapers are justifiably proud of their hard-hitting local editorials, perhaps half of all community papers carry no editorials at all. Publishers who refuse to editorialize often claim that editorial harassing is resented in small communities. Others are fearful of alienating readers and advertisers. Still others say they do not have enough time to develop polished, well-researched editorials on a regular basis. Many publishers are leaders in the commercial and political lives of their towns, and are so much a part of the local power structure that their editorials would not be persuasive anyway . Those who editorialize assert that editorials and opinion columns give identity to their newspapers and leadership to their communities. Indeed, some of the most inspired writing the US has produced – the ‘Crisis’ essays of Tom Paine, the Federalist Papers explaining and defending the Constitution, the stirring commentary of William Allen White of Kansas – first saw the light of day as editorial or column material in a community newspaper. Courageous hometown editors regularly win Pulitzer  Prizes and other professional honours for crusading editorials on local issues .

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