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Letter-to-the-editor tips

Get a Letter Published in Your Local Paper

Take Action Today!  Write a letter to the editor or you local paper. 
Letters to the editor (lte’s) are a simple, effective way to communicate your message to thousands of citizens, as well as key decision makers.  Follow these simple steps and you can make a huge impact on the campaign.

Writing tips
•    Be timely.  As a general rule, it’s best to reference a recent article or letter.  It also helps if you can use a local example to help make your point.
•    Be personal.  The reader should know why and how the issue affects you, your family and your community.  Try to use example from your personal experiences.
•    Keep it simple. You should choose one issue or argument and stick to it.
•    Keep it short. Most papers have very limited space available, so short letters are more likely to be printed.  It will also ensure that your most important point isn’t cut to save room.  Try to keep it under 200 words.
•    Be positive where possible.  Think about solutions to the problem you care about and include those in your letter.

Additional tips to get your letter printed
•    Follow the rules.  Most papers have guidelines to follow when submitting your letter.  Follow those guidelines closely or your letter may be tossed before it is read.
•    Follow up.  With a smaller paper, it will often help to call the person responsible for the letters-to-the-editor after you mail it. If they can connect a real person with the letter is it much more likely to get printed.

Sample Letter

Dear Editor,

I am writing to urge you to throw the full support of the Seattle Times behind the new Clean Air/Clean Fuels package before the Washington State Legislature this year. 

Your recent article “2007 could be the world’s hottest year on record”, demonstrates the dramatic effects that are coming our way if we do not take action to fight global warming.  As a parent, I am committed to leave my children with solutions to this problem we’ve created.  The Clean Air/Clean Fuels package delivers practical solutions to global warming. 

In addition, this legislation will protect our children now by providing grants to schools for clean diesel school buses that will reduce our kids’ exposure to toxic air pollution. 

For my children and all our children, we must act now.  Support Clean Air/Clean Fuels!

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