Do Magazines Invent Letters? Heavens No!

On Friday, we confronted the frightening possibility that Interview and other publications might make up some of its letters to the editor. We asked those of you with direct knowledge to provide your own stories. The results were more or less what we expected. While a few respondents vociferously denied the possibility that any letters were ever fabricated, the vast majority of you gave specific and credible evidence of missives spun from intern-laced cloth. We'll bring you the voices of the cynical later in the day. After the jump, words from the few fabulism deniers.

Absolutely never [at Glamour]. There was no need. We received hundreds and hundreds of letters and emails every week. They ran from the dull (e.g. subscription questions to "how do i become a model?"), to the somewhat interesting (e.g. comments on recent features), to the outrageous (e.g. letters from sailors commenting on articles about women's underwear to letters from the Christian right to letters from prisoners and a monthly 12-page critique handwritten on floral stationary from a man in a senior home).

During the time i worked there, Brill's Content ran an article charging that Bonnie Fuller ordered her staff to make up quotes and facts. Without commenting on that, I can tell you that no one ever needed to make up Glamour's letters.

One possible reason why Glamour never had to is because the magazine has a long history of responding to every single letter and email received. It may be that this has nurtured an epistolary relationship with its readers, whereas other magazines are left without much fodder to choose from, but I'm just guessing.

As an editorial assistant for a weekly publication, I can tell you that some people have WAY too much time on their hands. All our letters-to-the-editor are real, but quite a few of them still sound like one of our staff writers penned them as a joke. Some people find very interesting things to be passionate about.

And the ones we don't publish? Those would be the 7-page manuscripts about the writer's specific phobias or conspiracy theories that have nothing whatsoever to do with anything we've ever published.

I'm the letters page editor at a major business magazine. The letters that appear on the page are indeed real and are never embellished with humor or entertaining anecdotes. We once had a letter from a Scotsman chastising us for spelling whisky improperly (only Americans add the 'e') - great letter, and a real one.

Not enough of our readers write to us - does anyone read anymore??? It can be a stretch to get enough usable letters on the page. It is occasoinally tempting to make 'em up, but that temptation is always curtailed by the fact that a) it would bring this mag into disrepute and b) get me fired and force me to work at WalMart. So gawker readers, please write in to the magazines you read. It would make certain letters page editors lives much easier! :-)

Earlier: Does 'Interview' Invent Its Letters To The Editor?