Letter to the Editor Tips
Due to strict space limitations in newspapers, not all letters will be published, but the more letters the newspaper receives on a certain issue, the more likely they are to run at least one letter on the topic. Check the letter guidelines in your local paper and use the following tips to write an effective letter to the editor:
- Keep it short and focused. Many newspapers have strict length limits and may edit letters for space. A concise, single-issue letter has a better chance of retaining its salient points and keeping the reader's interest. A good rule of thumb is to limit the length of the letter to 250 words. Some newspapers may have an even shorter maximum length.
- Make specific references. While some newspapers will print general commentary letters, most prefer letters that respond to a specific article, editorial or another letter to the editor. Always mention the name of the article and the date published. You may also want to mention the reporter as well. For example: "John Brown's May 5th article, 'Recycling: The bloom is off the rose",', failed to . .".
- Act soon. When referring to an article, editorial or letter to the editor that has already been published, be sure to respond quickly. Try to get a letter off within a week after the piece has appeared. The longer you wait the less likely your letter will be published.
- Be factual and highlight aspects of the issue that haven't been previously addressed. Concentrate on the local angle. Be timely.
- Add a touch of humor. Don't be shrill or use jargon, but humor is a great way to captivate your audience.
- Include your contact information. Many newspapers will only publish a letter to the editor after verifying the author's contact information. Be sure to include your mailing address and phone number.
- Send letters to smaller newspapers. Small newspapers are more likely to print your letter and the letter can then spark debate and even local community action.
- Consider your audience. Make sure your letter can be understood by someone who knows nothing about the issue.
Back to Editorial Support
©Container Recycling Institute 2003-2009 • Contact Us
Culver City, CA
Web design by Valerie Hoy