Writing Letters to the Editor
Letters to the editor can be a great way to express your views on an issue that has importance to you.Many politicians and other decision-makers read the letters page to gauge public opinion.A well worded letter can bring up information not addressed in a news article or can create an impression of widespread support (or opposition) to an issue. Here are some tips to writing letters to the editor:
1. Write about an issue which is current.Try to write within two days of when an article appears. Specify the item to which you are responding.
2. Send the letter to the publication in which the article appeared.Don't bother doing a mass mailing since only those publications that carried the article will be interested in your opinion.
3. Be concise (usually no longer than 250 words) and keep to the point.
4. Type your letter and follow the guidelines in the publication (i.e. mail, email, or fax).
5. Do not be defamatory or obscene. Rather, be polite, even when you disagree.
6. Include your contact information (name, address, daytime phone number)
While it's very satisfying to have your letter appear in a large daily newspaper, don't overlook the weekly community newspapers.In general, the smaller the publication's circulation, the more likely it is to have your letter printed.
And, be persistent. You shouldn't be discouraged if your letter is not printed.Editors receive many more letters than they have space to print.If your letter is published, consider sending clippings to others in your organization.After all, this is a good way to demonstrate that your views are getting public attention.
Author: Martin Cohn
Martin Cohn is president of The Cohn Group, Inc., a Needham, Massachusetts-based, full service public relations firm.He can be reached at www.cohngroup.com