WRITE: a letter to the editor
A Letter-to-the Editor (LTE) is able to reach large audiences. The LTE section of the newspaper is the most frequently read. It’s your chance to make your voice heard in your community.
Activism 101: Writing a Letter to the Editor:
Why do it?
A Letter-to-the Editor (LTE) is able to reach large audiences. The LTE section of the newspaper is the most frequently read. It is perceived as a highly credible source of public sentiments by important readers, like your legislators! It’s your chance to make your voice heard in your community. LTEs can be used to:
- Link your issue to other events in the news.
- Correct, respond to, or engage with another letter, story, or editorial.
- Raise awareness about your issue.
- Be formatted: find out your local paper’s policy for LTEs. You need to know who to address the letter to, what form they like it to take, and if there are any restrictions on length (AND has a 175 word limit) etc. They might state this in the column. If not, call the paper and ask!
- Be clear, concise, and focused. Its best to stick to one issue per letter and write from a local perspective.
- Be informative. Don’t assume that everyone will know about your subject. If you had sources, site them to enhance your credibility.
- Be original. Make sure you’re not simply repeating a form letter, you want yours to stand out! A good way to do this is to be personal, talk about how the issue affects you.
- Be timely: Write about issues when they are “hot” or in response to a letter or article that was already published.
- Be nice. It’s best not to make clear negative attacks and focus on the positive. Talk about why something is important or good solutions.
- Be professional. Have a friend proofread your letter and check grammar and clarity.
- Be accountable. Include your contact information (name, address, and phone number) because the newspaper will need to verify that you wrote the letter.
- Don’t sweat it! You don’t have to be a professional to write good LTE’s. Your writing style matters less than what you have to say. Often quick, spontaneous letters turn out fresher and more interesting than ones that you labor over for days.
- Follow up! Call the newspaper and see if they got your letter and have printed it. If they don’t print it, not ask why so you can learn and make changes in your next one.
Contact Your Alaska News Papers:
Fairbanks Daily News Miner
Submit online at: http://www.newsminer.com/pages/submit_letters_to_editor
Anchorage Daily News
Sumbit online at: http://www. adn.com/help/letters/
Call: (907) 257 – 4547