Letters to Media
People really do read letters to newspapers and magazines, comments on blogs, and postings in online forums. So getting a letter published is a great way to influence public opinion.
Newspapers receive a great many letters to the editor. The more people who send letters on one topic, the better chance that the editor will print something on that topic. So even if you letter isn’t published, writing is a great way to influence the editorial board.
Here are some tips on writing a letter to a newspaper editor. With some tweaking, the same tips should help you with electronic media, too.
- A letter to the editor responds to a recently published story.
- A letter can either favor or oppose a point made in the story.
- Don’t just be negative; instead, suggest what the reporter/author should have said.
- Letters to the editor communicate personal opinions.
- If you can add a personal detail, great! Put a human face on the issue.
- Letters to the editor are most often published if written by local residents, not by organizations.
- In your opening sentence, reference the title and date of the article you are responding to.
- Do not waste space repeating what the article said – instead, go straight to your main point.
- Make the most important point in the first paragraph.
- Write no more than three quick paragraphs, totaling between 100 and 200 words – shorter is better.
- Include your name and contact information. Anonymous letters are rarely printed.
Here is a sample letter. If you write a letter, send us a copy. If it gets published, please let us know so we can celebrate with you!
Letters to Politicians
One good place to send the same letter to multiple legislators (e.g. Congress person, both senators, your state legislators) and the President is at http://www.congress.org.
Sample letter to Congress: