Tips for writing a letter to the editor

Writing a letter to the editor is a great way to share your vision for a healthier environment and to educate readers about the importance of environmental issues. You can congratulate someone for doing the right thing or point out the flaws in an ill-conceived public policy. A well-written, timely letter can help shift public opinion and influence policy.

To find out how to submit a letter to your local paper, click on the links below. And keep the following tips in mind as you write your letter to the editor:

  • Keep your letter short and concise. This will increase the chance of your letter getting published. In fact most papers have a word limit – stick to it! Shorter letters also have a greater chance of being read.
  • Be accurate. Support your letter with facts, statistics, citations or other evidence.
  • Open your letter with a strong statement. The statement might point out an error or misrepresentation in an article, disagree with an editorial position, or add to the discussion by pointing out something readers need to know.
  • Avoid personal attacks.
  • Close with a thought for readers to remember. Consider the central point you want people to take away.
  • Your letter should stand on its own (if you’re responding to something previously published, not all readers will have read the original story).

Please refer to the following links for Oregon newspaper-specific guidelines on writing your letter. Make sure to include your name, address and telephone number in your email to your local paper. They won’t publish the personal information, but may call you to confirm that the letter has been submitted by a local reader.

Newspaper-Specific Guidelines for Letters to the Editor


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