WRITE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The letters to the editor section of your local newspaper is an ideal forum for getting your message to a broader audience.
More people read the letters to the editor (LTE) section than any other part of the newspaper except the front page. Writing a letter to the editor is easy. Here are a few tips for getting your letter printed.
BEFORE WRITING YOUR LETTER
- Editors prefer to publish timely, concise letters that respond to an article, editorial, or other letter that appeared in the newspaper. They also prefer to run letters about issues of local importance and interest.
- Before writing your letter, review the newspaper’s policy on letters to the editor, which is frequently found on the newspaper’s website under the Opinion section. Also, look for guidelines on how to submit a letter online or through email.
- Find your local newspaper at www.newspapers.com/usa_news.htm. Click on your state for all the newspapers in your area, their addresses, and links to their websites.
WRITING YOUR LETTER
- Keep your letter short and to the point – 250 words maximum. (Find sample LTE text here.)
- Be mindful about accuracy and avoid personal attacks.
- Refer back to the article/issue that you are commenting on (see examples below), but remember that your letter must stand on its own—not all readers will have seen the original story.
- Limit the number of points you make, and stay on message; likewise, avoid rambling sentences and big words.
- Localize your letter – if relevant, explain how the issue will affect coyotes in your area.
- Close with the thought you’d like readers to remember. Instead of focusing your attention on a reporter, editor, or expert who got it wrong, consider the central point you want people reading the letter to take away.
- Be sure to include your contact information (name, home address, phone number, email address). Many newspapers will only print a letter to the editor after calling the author to verify his or her identity and address. Newspapers will not give out the information, and will usually only print your name and city should your letter be published.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for action – tell readers what you want them to do. This includes your elected officials. You can be sure they read the letters to the editor. By putting their names in the letter and calling for action – a vote, cosponsoring a bill, opposing a proposed management plan – you get their attention fast.
- End your letter by encouraging readers to visit Project Coyote’s website for more information: www.ProjectCoyote.org
AFTER WRITING YOUR LETTER
- Encourage your family and friends to write letters to the editor about the same issue. If your local paper gets flooded with letters, they are more likely to print them.
- Send letters to weekly community newspapers too. Although their circulation is smaller, these publications may better reach your target audience, and you stand a good chance of getting your letter printed.
- Ask someone to review your letter to be sure your writing is clear and you are getting your point across.
- Please send links to your letter to Project Coyote at firstname.lastname@example.org.