Almost all local newspapers have a section for publishing letters from readers, and these can be a great way to start a discussion in your community! The paper will include information on where/how to submit these letters. Here are some tips for writing and submitting your letter:
- Focus on one issue only. Trying to address separate issues in one letter will decrease your chance of getting published and make it very difficult to be clear given the limited word count. Most community newspapers allow a maximum of 250 words, and larger publications often limit it to 200 or fewer.
- Respond directly to a current news story or an article or commentary published within the last week. Follow the format used in the publication you are sending to. The standard format for your subject is: Re: “Be a voice for the voiceless” – June 21, 2012
- Remove non-essential words. For example, don’t say, “I think” or “I believe”. It’s obvious and will increase the chance of editors changing the letter.
- Use verified facts.
- Include your letter in the body of your email (NOT as an attachment), below a brief introduction including your name, address, and daytime phone number.
- Pay attention to other letters that are published. Note what is effective about them to help you improve your own skills.
- If your letter doesn’t get published the first time you send one in, don’t be discouraged! News publications receive many letters, so please try again.