Writing a letter to the editor is a powerful method to put your point across to a vast audience at no cost.
- For maximum chance of getting published:
– Respond as quickly as possible to issues raised in the news. The issue may not be news tomorrow.
– Refer and reply to another letter or article in the same publication.
– Keep your letter 200-400 words long
– Include your name, street address and telephone no at the bottom. (The newspaper may want to check you want it published).
– Look at the length and style of the letters published in your newspaper and try to copy this.
– Find out the name and title of the letters page editor and address to him/her.
- Explain why the topic is important to you and give a little background on it and what your opponents are saying (perhaps referring to a previous letter or article). Then explain why your view is correct.
- If you speak on behalf of an organisation, say so in the letter and under your signature. This helps create credibility.
- Do not copy other people’s words. State your own view in your own words.
- Check your facts carefully before you send it. Slight inaccuracies or misquotations could undermine your credibility.
- Check your letter and ask someone else to proof read it for grammar and spelling.
- If you have a specific reason why you don’t want your name to be used, ask a friend to send it for you or alternatively use a pseudonym. eg. Sign it with a name like ‘Deeply concerned’ or ‘Medical student’ or ‘Offended taxpayer’. You must still include your real name and street address below this.
- After you have sent the letter, wait a few days. If it is not published, then phone the letters editor and ask why it was not published. Don’t accept the excuse given – ask them to publish it.
- Stick to one subject – don’t try to cover too many issues.
- Avoid being aggressive, using abusive language or ridiculing those we oppose. Always offer hope to those caught in sin.
- Use business letter format:
– Flush left Colon after greeting
– Comma after closing
– Your name and title
- If you email to more then one newspaper, then send as separate individual emails.