Tips on Writing Letters to the Editor

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Letters to the editor are a newspaper’s way of getting feedback from its readers. While they may only be able to publish a few of the letters they receive, editors are influenced by the volume of mail they get on a given topic. An article or editorial to which readers respond is more likely to be followed up with future pieces.

1.) Respond to a recent news story or editorial. A good letter might begin, “Your article about youth violence (“Child Soldiers in America” Dec. 4) was excellent. Readers might also want to know that the Youth PROMISE Act is seeking to not just a deterrent to youth violence and gang activity, but will work to cultivate a deep and lasting solutions to violence at all levels of society”

2.) Make your letter short and legible (most will not accept over 200 words). It should contain a few striking facts that might surprise an editor or a reader. (U.S. youth homicide rates are more than 10 times that of other leading industrial nations, on par with the rates in developing countries and those experiencing rapid social and economic changes.) You might also reference one of our statistics_on violence.

3.) Use descriptive words which communicate how passionately you feel about the issue. Don’t be dry. (“I am concerned for my children and all the children of the world, that will inherit our troublesome relationships. We must begin to look at our social and political structures and how they promote things that will do nothing to bring forth deep and lasting peace for the coming generations.”)

4.) Include your address, home and work phone numbers, and e-mail address.

Download information to review for writing here.