Writing Letters to the Editor

  • Letters should be drafted carefully. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
  • Make one point (or at most two) in your letter or fax. State the point clearly, ideally in the first sentence. Reference the article or editorial you're about which you're responding; for example - Jim Wooten's, 2-27-05 editorial "Teacher bill has GOP mark."
  • Make your letter timely. Try to do it as quickly as possible.
  • Familiarize yourself with the coverage and editorial position of the paper to which you are writing.
  • Refute or support specific statements, address relevant facts that are ignored, but avoid blanket attacks on the media in general or the newspaper in particular.
  • Check the letter specifications of the newspaper to which you are writing. Length and format requirements vary from paper to paper. (Generally, roughly two short paragraphs are ideal.) No more than 150 words. You also must include your name, signature, address and phone number because they will contact you to verify that you were the person who actually wrote the letter.
  • Monitor the paper for your letter. If your letter has not appeared within a week or two, follow up with a call to the editorial department of the newspaper.
  • Write to different sections of the paper when appropriate. Sometimes the issue you want to address is relevant to the lifestyle, book review or other section of the paper.
    Please sign your letters as an individual or representative of a community group, not as a member of GAE.