What is a Letter to the Editor?
A letter to the editor is a letter written to the Editor of a newspaper. The letter is an opportunity for you to express your opinion about a recent article published in the paper or an issue in the news.
Writing letters to the editor is an important engagement tool for activists. They allow activists to do the following:
- Reach a broader audience than you normally would have;
- Hold your local journalists accountable;
- Present alternative views on political issues.
Letters to the editor are usually found in the first section of the newspaper or on the editorial page.
Guidelines for Getting a Letter to the editor Published
Most newspapers publish guidelines with their specific requirements for getting a letter published, but here are some general rules that will help you get your letter to the editor published.
- Include your name and address and a telephone number where you can be reached.
- Be respectful and courteous, even when disagreeing with the Editorial Board about a specific issue.
- Be specific. If you are opposed to Obamacare, mention the specific reasons why. Provide examples.
- Cite your sources. If you include any quoted material, be sure to correctly cite your source or attribute the quote.
- Use proper grammar. Spellcheck your letter and be sure to use proper grammar.
- Be concise. Letters to the editor are much more likely to be published if they are 300 words or less. Make your point as clearly and concisely as possible.