(Why the letter is unedited is anybody's guess, given that Lewis is an editor by title, but it's littered with typos and a wide, ugly streak of anger.)
Snavely's main gripe is that the paper "has flagrantly featured black faces on it's (sic) pages way out of proportion to their participation or newworthiness (sic) for a long, long time."
Snavely claimed he spoke with Lewis about the overabundance of black faces in the paper; Lewis "denied my allegation," Snavely wrote.
What is true is the News-Leader's commitment to diversity, as spelled out by corporate parent Gannett. The "All-American" review is designed "to improve, and assure, the inclusion of local minority voices and faces in the daily news coverage of Gannett newspapers." Reporters are strongly encouraged to seek diverse voices in stories. Photographers are likewise encouraged to get those diverse mugshots in the paper.
Snaveley probably wouldn't like, approve of or appreciate such a commitment; for some there is no hope. But he deserved a straight response. He wrote:
I persisted and asked Mr. Lewis why 80% of his articles were about 4% of his readers (blacks). I told him that black issues were of little news interest to me and my neighbors and the rest of the Ozark area. I asked him to please write about things of interest to us. Mr. Lewis hung up on me in mid sentence.
It’s long been our policy to call people and confirm authorship before publishing letters in the paper as described in this letter.
Mr. Snavely writes that I hung up on him in mid-sentence. That’s very unlike me and the way I treat readers.