Sometimes it seems there’s a select small inbred club reading those letters to the editor – but it includes the politicians trying to keep an ear to the ground. Letters to the editor really work to make a difference.
GUIDE TO WRITING A LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Letters to the Editor are an opportunity to “be the press” for a moment, but come with limitations. Publishing is up to the discretion of the Editor, so following some guidelines is recommended if the ultimate objective is to be published. Note that different publications have individual recommended guidelines, so writers should refer to each individual Editor’s wishes regarding length of the letter, etc.
Letters should, unless otherwise stated, be between 250-350 words, or several concise paragraphs.
The subject matter should be clearly stated within the first two sentences.
Assertive, diplomatic language should be used. Avoid obvious or redundant phrases like “I am writing to” and “It is my opinion”, obscenities, conspiracies, judgmental language, and unreferenced character assassinations.
A reference to a recent article published in that paper or a local reference to a publicized national or larger regional issue is key. This should be the focus of the letter, and should be mentioned at least at the beginning and end of the letter.
The writer should state his or her opinion as fact and provide sufficient information to back it up.
Letters should provide a fresh perspective on a single topic. For instance, “Railroads in Vermont need more infrastructure investment, and our state representative should vote to support that” as opposed to “Railroads need more support, and so are the cuts to school funding, increased cost in healthcare, and the dog leash laws, and our representative supports all of these.”
….So, Keep it Diplomatic, Concise, Referenced, and Local!