Letter to the Editor
NC Peace Action has worked hard to keep the issue of war spending vs. funding human needs before the public. We have averaged a letter a week in a Triangle newspaper. If you would like support for media work in your area, contact Betsy Crites at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guidelines for Writing a Letter to the Editor (LTE)
~ Connect your LTE to an article, letter, or editorial that appeared recently in the paper to which you’re writing. The more current, the better.
~ Focus on one single issue. We all oppose increased Pentagon funding for a variety of reasons, but pick just one to write about! Less is more….
~ To broaden the impact of your LTE, mention the name(s) of specific Senators and House Reps, as appropriate. This will trigger Internet alerts that will be seen by their staff.
~ Your reasoned opinion is what counts but, if you can, cite the source of quotes, statistics, etc.
~ Speak from personal experience, if possible. How has Pentagon spending affected YOU and your community?
~ Use simple (not academic or “high-falutin”) language.
~ Maintain a moderate tone. Your LTE is not the place to be shrill, belligerent, or sarcastic.
~ Don’t pontificate or condescend. Try to picture the next-door neighbors who will read your letter. Appeal to their concerns.
~ Your letter must be your own original work.
~ If you’d like another set of eyes to preview your LTE, send a draft to a friend for a quick review.
~ Observe the publication’s word limit and deadlines, and be sure to include your name, mailing address, and a phone number where you can be reached during working hours.
~ We believe our LTEs have greater impact if they come from the common folk, so we are not identifying ourselves as part of any organization or campaign.
~ DO NOT send your letter to more than one publication. (If it’s rejected, you then can tailor it and send it to another publication, but not before.)
~ IMPORTANT: If you don’t hear from the paper within two days of submitting your LTE, email or call the letters editor and ask if your LTE was received and when it will run. That calls attention to your letter and ensures that it’s not lingering in their spam box. You might then need to revise and/or re-send it.
~ Don’t despair if your LTE is rejected. Every letter — published or not — heightens the publisher’s sensitivity to the issue and helps pave the way for the next letter that comes across his/her desk.
~ If you see a relevant letter (or article) in the online edition of your paper, write a comment.
Send your letters to the editors to email@example.com for posting on the website.
Please check out the Friends Committee on National Legislative for some helpful tips about how to write an effective letter to the editor.