Post ombudsman Joseph Laitin began his July 19 column with a self-directed challenge: "There is so much hate in the world, most of it directed at The Post . . . but they continue to read The Post avidly, day after day, relentlessly. I do not know how to deal with them" (italics added).

I have absolutely no doubt that good ol' Joe, who was for God-knows-how-many years one of the most effective and respected information officers in the federal government -- regardless of the political or ideological hue of whatever administration was in place -- will find a way to deal with folks like me who, more often than not, take a dim view of The Post's editorial policies, even when the Reagan team is not the focus of attention.

Perhaps I can help Mr. Laitin with one answer to his problem by citing an event that happened when he and I were much younger and life much simpler.

During the newspaper strike in New York City that extended from late 1962 to the spring of 1963, the Washington Star (Dec. 29, 1962) reported that a poll taken of New Yorkers by graduate students of Columbia University's School of Journalism disclosed that the public missed many newspaper features, news being last. It seems that what the public missed most were classified advertising, notices of department store sales, the comics and movie schedules.

Is it possible, Joe, that you don't have as big a worry as you thought?

LEON J. FISHKIN

Alexandria