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From the Editor

PLN's fundraiser to pay for the second staff position has raised $5,645 as of January 10, 2000. We need to raise a total of $24,000 above and beyond what we normally bring in so we will be able to pay for a much needed second office person. If you haven't made a donation yet, it's not too late to do so. We especially appreciate the small donations made by prisoners, especially those on death row and in control units--every little bit helps. The Sonya Staff Foundation in New York has donated $2,500 to our efforts for which we are very grateful. I would also like to thank those readers who, unable to make an additional donation, took the opportunity to extend their subscriptions.

I would like to thank those readers who returned the reader survey forms. Your responses give me invaluable feedback on how PLN can better serve your needs. In a few issues, once more of the surveys have been returned, I'll report the major trends. If you have not yet returned your survey form, it isn't too late to do so.

The most common response so far, especially from prisoners, is that they want more news from their state. In the course of a year PLN reports news from almost every state. PLN is financially limited in the number of pages we can print which means we have to prioritize the news we cover. However, a lot of the news we run depends on what you, our readers, send us. Most prison and jail news never makes the national media. It is solely reported at the local level, if at all.

A large part of our news coverage relies on our readers to send us newspaper clippings, administrative rulings, unpublished court opinions and settlements, and eyewitness accounts on what is happening in local prisons and jails. Then, once we have the material I have to decide what we will cover in PLN. The factors I consider in making this decision include: does it impact large numbers of prisoners, their families or supporters, is it of interest to national audience, are there enough facts available for a good story, can PLN add a new or different insight to the issue, is it receiving extensive coverage elsewhere, how many readers does PLN have in that state which will be interested by this, etc. So keep sending PLN your news, newspaper and magazine articles, story ideas, tips and unpublished court rulings and settlements. We also welcome article submissions from our readers. If you would like to see a story or issue covered In PLN contact our office in Seattle for a copy of PLN's writer guidelines (send an SASE). PLN can't afford to pay for articles, yet, but we will give you a free subscription if we use your submission.

Also, I am looking for volunteers who are willing to do internet information searches, mainly of newspaper web sites, on behalf of PLN so we can develop various news stories. If anyone wants to volunteer for this please contact me directly at the address on page two. If you have Westlaw or Lexis-Nexis access so much the better.

Enjoy this issue of PLN and please encourage others to subscribe. If you need PLN subscription flyers or a bundle of PLN's to distribute at events send $4 to PLN's office, stamps are fine, and we will send you a bundle of PLNs and flyers.

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