How to Write a Letter to the Editor
When people have strong opinions about issues, they often like to share their thoughts. Writing a letter to the editor of a paper or magazine is one way to make your voice heard. To increase your chances of having your letter published, learn to write a powerful and effective letter.
Letters to editors are the public’s vehicle for sharing opinions and potentially influencing others to take action or change their viewpoints. When you write a letter to the editor, you are communicating to the editor of a publication. The editor has the option of taking your letter and publishing it on the editorial page of the publication, which is typically a newspaper or magazine.
What Does a Good Letter to the Editor Contain?
Letters to editors can be short; you might try to keep yours under 300 words, unless the publication has another word limit. The letter presents your opinion about an issue or a situation. The opening sentence of the letter should grab readers and make them want to read on. Keep the letter concise, outlining key points and explaining the importance of the issue. Share evidence and facts when possible. An effective letter can state a specific opinion about a solution or an action. It’s also crucial that authors of letters to editors be signed with your basic contact information to enable an editor to contact you if necessary.
What Elements to Leave Out
As you craft a letter to the editor, be careful to leave out elements that may get it rejected. Always write your letter using your own words without plagiarizing other people’s writing. Editors need to publish original text. Make sure that any facts you present are accurate, citing your sources if possible. Resist the urge to include too much information. Letters need to be concise, or they may get heavily edited or even rejected.
Read Samples and Templates
It may help you to write your letter if you read samples of other effective letters to the editor. Many websites offer samples and templates of various types of letters, including letters to the editor and other types of correspondence such as recommendation letter examples. Check the letters to the editor in the publication you’ll be submitting to; you might notice certain writing styles or topics the editor prefers to publish.
If you’re writing a letter to the editor in response to a recent article, write it as soon as possible after the article was published. Ideally, you should write and send your letter within three days if it’s an article rebuttal.
If you’re calling out a company or an individual, include names in your letter. In the case of companies, many monitor the media to know when the company gets a mention. If printed, your letter could lead to personal correspondence regarding the issue — and even a resolution.
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