Writing Letters to the Editor - Community Tool Box

Writing Letters to the Editor - Community Tool Box

Writing Letters to the Editor Copyright 2014 by The University of Kansas What is a letter to the editor? A written way of talking to readers of a regularly printed publication Generally found in the first section of the publication or on the editorial page Can be for or against an issue, or simply to inform Usually less than 300 words

Copyright 2014 by The University of Kansas Why should you write a letter to the editor? You're angry about something and want others to know An issue is so important that you must speak out To persuade others to take a specific action To suggest an idea to others To influence public opinion To educate the public To influence policymakers

Copyright 2014 by The University of Kansas When should you write a letter to the editor? Any time you want to shape public opinion, tell others how you feel about something, or just inform the public on an issue To start a community conversation about an issue Copyright 2014 by The University of Kansas Should you use e-mail or fax?

Sure! Just make sure that the publication accepts letters by e-mail and fax. Pros: It's faster and easier than normal mail It's less likely to get lost Con: Easily deleted; you might call to be sure it was received Copyright 2014 by The University of Kansas How do you write a letter to the editor?

Open with a simple salutation Grab the reader's attention Explain what the letter is about at the start Explain why the issue is important Give evidence for any praise or criticism Copyright 2014 by The University of Kansas

How do you write a letter to the editor? (cont.) State your opinion about what should be done Keep it brief Sign the letter. Check your letter to make sure it's clear and to the point Copyright 2014 by The University of Kansas

How do you get your letters accepted? Keep it under 300 words Keep most important points in the first paragraph Refer to something recent & relevant in the community

Use local statistics and personal stories Include your title as well as your name Include your phone number If it's not accepted the first time around, try again Copyright 2014 by The University of Kansas

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