Writing a Letter to the Editor is Easier Than You Think!
Letters to the editor are great advocacy tools. They allow you to tell your community and state why legislation impacts our daily lives.
Why is writing an Op-Ed an effective tool?
- Reach a large audience.
- Elected officials often monitor them.
- Can bring up information not addressed in a news article.
- Create an impression of widespread support for or opposition to an issue.
Tips on Writing Letters to the Editor
Keep it short and on one subject. Many newspapers have strict limits on the length of letters and have limited space to publish them. Keeping your letter brief will help assure that the newspaper does not cut out your important points. Use the "Tips on Writing to Your Elected Officials" as a guide.
Make it legible. Your letter doesn't have to be fancy, but you should use a typewriter or computer word processor if your handwriting is difficult to read.
Send letters to weekly community newspapers too. The smaller the newspaper's circulation, the easier it is to get your letter printed.
Be sure to include your contact information. Many newspapers will only print a letter to the editor after calling the author to verify their identity and address. Newspapers will not give out that information and will usually only print your name and city should your letter be published.
Make references to the newspaper. While some papers print general commentary, many will only print letters that refer to a specific article. Here are some examples of easy ways to refer to articles in your opening sentence:
- I was disappointed to see that The Post's May 18 editorial "School Vouchers Are Right On" omitted some of the key facts in the debate.
- I strongly disagree with (author's name) narrow view on women's reproductive rights. ("Name of Op-Ed," date)