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6 Samples of Letter to Editor – Writing Tips

A letter to editor is a document written to a publication, such as a newspaper, magazine, or other printed media.

It can be used to raise awareness, inform, support, or oppose an issue. Typically, once your letter is received and approved, it is published within the first section of the newspaper/magazine or editorial page. The letter can serve different purposes, such as generating community discussions on social issues, stimulating interest from the media, and creating coverage of issues of public importance. The letters can also be used to acknowledge or recognize people with noteworthy efforts and success. A letter to the editor is an effective way of conveying information to the community or the public. It can be based on facts or emotions. 

This article will provide a letter editor template and how to write one that effectively conveys your message. It also provides examples of the letter to the editor to help you guide through the writing process.

Free Templates

Given below are letter to the editor templates:

When and Why Should You Write a Letter to Editor? 

You can send a letter to the editor to reach a large audience, such as a community, group of people, key figures in society, or the public in general. You can write the letter for different reasons, such as to express your stance on a matter of public interest, inform the audience of your anger about a particular issue, or persuade them to take a specific action. The letter can also be used to educate the audience on a particular subject, suggest an idea, and directly or indirectly influence public opinion and policymakers such as politicians. It can also be used to publicize your or a group’s work and attract interest from volunteers, donors, etc.

Some instances when you can write a letter is when you want to create or increase awareness on a particular issue or cause. You can voice your opinion about certain ideas, programs, people, or issues. You will typically have to send a series of letters to achieve your objective. Additionally, timing is important as it can influence your letter’s effectiveness.

Note that you can write the letter on your behalf or for a group or organization. Lastly, if you are writing to a large newspaper, you should aim to create an outstanding letter that gives you an advantage over your competition during the selection stage.

3 Essential Pre-Considerations 

You have to be intentional and organized if you want your letter to be effective. Some of the main factors you should consider when writing your letter to the editor include the following:

Decide on the topic

The first factor you want to determine is the topic or subject of your letter. The letter can address different topics, such as responding to a specific article or discussing an emerging issue. Your letter to the editor will be more effective if you respond to an article written by the newspaper you are writing to. 

Read other letters from the paper you have chosen

It is advisable to review other letters addressed to the editor of the same newspaper you want to contact. This gives you a starting point, as different newspapers and magazines have different formatting guidelines regarding style, length, and tone. 

Check the guidelines of the paper

Lastly, you should check the guidelines of the paper you are writing to. This is because newspapers typically dictate what type of letters can be published, what information should be included, e.g., your name, phone number, etc., method of submission, and most newspapers will normally prohibit political endorsements.    

How to Write an Effective Letter to the Editor: 10 Key Steps 

A letter addressed to the editor is a formal letter and should be written professionally. You must structure it accordingly and clearly communicate your message to the editor.

A step-by-step procedure to craft your letter is shown below:

State the article you are responding to

Firstly, you should introduce the editor and your audience to the article you are referring to. You should include the title, the article’s date, and its argument. This information should be given in one or two sentences. 

Specify what you are writing about 

Briefly state what the letter is about, as this forms your introduction. State your key point concisely. Do not delve deeply into the topic so that you can create interest in the audience to prompt them to read the rest of the letter. The information you include will depend on why you are writing to the editor. The letter can be written for the following reasons: to publicly congratulate or support an idea or individual, correct information, suggest, publicize, or influence public opinion. 

State your position 

After stating your stance, expound on why you take that position. In your explanation, be sure to illustrate the issue’s relevance and importance by offering a brief context or application. Also, if your professional occupation gives you authority to speak on the issue, you should state your occupation.

Specify the issue’s importance

Next, explain why the issue is important to you and why it is significant enough to be conveyed to the public. It should be clear why the issue is essential, as this can generate interest from the editor and readers.

Provide evidence 

A letter to the editor can be evidence-based. It is important to provide evidence to support your stance. Evidence refers to facts that validate your claims. This can be statistics, data, survey results, reference to recent events within the community, politics/country, or a personal story. You will typically have to research to obtain credible and sufficient evidence.

Include personal examples 

You should include a personal story that relates to the issue at hand. Personal stories are a great way of illustrating a particular issue’s impact and making the letter more relatable to the audience.

Specify what should be done 

You should propose a remedy for the issue(s) highlighted in your letter. The remedy should be based on your argument. Some letters may simply be to support or congratulate someone or something. However, you should suggest specific actions you would like the audience to take whenever necessary.  Examples of such actions include stating particular ways the public can be actively involved, such as voting, recycling, speaking up on an issue or volunteering, giving directions to a website or organization, or requesting them to seek more information.

Include names in your letter 

You should mention names if your message is directed toward a specific person, group, or organization. These can be the name of a legislator, corporation, activist group, etc. This is because most public figures’ teams typically identify and compile any news mentioning the legislator or organization. This, in turn, expedites how fast your message is conveyed to the intended public figure. Also, mentioning names generates more interest from the audience.

Conclude the letter 

Your letter should be concluded with an appropriate closing that summarizes your argument on the particular topic. The closing ensures the readers remember your key point after absorbing all the information provided in the letter. The closing can be given in one sentence.

Include your affiliation 

Lastly, if your message is relevant to your profession, you should indicate your affiliation. You should state your professional title in between your name and residence. If you are sending the letter on behalf of a company, you should include its name.

Other Considerations After Writing a Letter to the Editor 

After you have completed your letter, there are other steps you can undertake to ensure your letter is as effective as intended. These post-considerations include the following:

Deliver the letter by email 

Most publication companies prefer receiving electronic letters from the editor. This is because it simplifies printing as all they have to do is transfer the file to the printing software. So, it is best to send the letter via email; however, you can always verify their preferred submission method, as some traditional newspapers may still prefer physical letters.

Send it on time 

Timing is crucial in getting your letter to the editor chosen. You should send the letter shortly after the article you are referencing is published. This guarantees that the subject remains fresh in the editor’s and audience’s minds. Also, you should review the company’s guidelines on the deadline.

Follow-up with your letter 

If your letter was directed to a company, group, or legislator, you should follow up with a letter once it has been published. The letter should discuss the same issue addressed in your letter to the editor and should include the suggested resolution actions.

Send your letter elsewhere in case of rejection 

It is never a guarantee that your letter will be chosen for publishing. So, if your letter is not chosen yet, and you are passionate about the topic, this should not discourage you from trying to get your voice or opinion heard. You should try sending the letter to other newspapers.

Sample Letters to the Editor 

Increase in road accidents

In reference to the newspaper published on Monday, 2 January 2023, there has been an increase in road accidents in Melville County. This has resulted in the loss of mobility, significant financial losses, and in some cases, loss of life. I believe this can be attributed to the new changes in DUI policies in 2022, where the acceptable alcohol levels have been increased from 25% to 30%. The mayor, Mr. Benjamin Olsen, should form an inquiry committee regarding the issue. The new policy changes have a negative impact, evidenced by the rise in DUI road accidents from 800 in Dec-Jan 2022 to 1350 in Dec-Jan 2023 (Craig Whistle Newspaper 2 Jan 2023). I urge the public to remain vigilant and report people spotted driving under the influence.  

I believe this message is needed, and your trusted newspaper is the most reliable avenue to reach the public.

Thank you.

Condition of marine lines

On 20 December 2023, you published an article titled “Marine Life: Demise Incoming.” The importance of marine lines cannot be overstated. Therefore, it is disheartening to see the neglect of our marine lines by the public and regulators. I believe it is high time that all parties, the media included, work towards protecting our marine lines in any capacity they can. I also believe awareness is the first step, whereby I commend you for your articles on the issue.

I suggest that ad campaigns be conducted in different media outlets and avenues, from television to print. Also, the community should be actively involved in organizing and implementing plans and programs to rehabilitate the marine lines.  Regulators should be urged to undertake their functions diligently. I also encourage the general public to recycle waste and practice safe disposal other than dumping it in the waters.

Thank you for your outstanding efforts in protecting our marine lines.

Attacks on old people

I have been an admirer and consistent reader of your newspaper. I want to discuss the rampant attacks on senior citizens in Bridgeview Town. I condemn the act and believe it is time for strict and intentional steps to mitigate the situation.

According to official police reports, the recorded attacks have totaled 500 in 6 months which is an alarming rate. The attacks are examples of demographic acts of violence that can lead to more crime if not spoken about and addressed.

I urge the general public to remain vigilant and report cases on time. The legislator should also increase consequences for any identified perpetrators. I hope that through your newspaper, this message can reach the people of Bridgeview and increase safety within our community.

I appreciate your audience. 

Tips for Crafting an Effective Letter to the Editor 

There are different writing practices and techniques for writing an exceptional letter that excites the editor and has a higher chance of being selected:

  • You should condense your message into a brief but adequate letter. Always review your letter to identify details you can eliminate or rephrase. It is advisable to keep the letter under 300 words. 
  • Your letter should not replicate what has already been discussed by other people. It should reflect an individualistic point of view as this increases its chances of getting selected. 
  • It is important to write the letter with the audience in mind regarding tone and wording. Avoid using industry jargon, acronyms, and phrases your readers may be unfamiliar with. Also, do not use accusatory language toward people who you disagree with.    
  • The letter should reference current (existing or emerging) events. This increases its relevance and chances of publishing your letter, especially when referencing a recent article.
  • The first paragraph should have your key points. This is because should the editor have to cut some parts, they often start from the bottom. Thus beginning with your key points protects your major points.
  • If you have any professional background to speak on the issue, be sure to mention your title in the letter.
  • Editors will typically want to contact you, so it is sensible to include your contact details. This includes a phone number and email.
  • You should avoid being extremely polarised and discriminatory, and biased personal comments. Be objective throughout the letter. 

Final Words 

A letter to the editor is an opportunity for anyone in the general public to have their voice or opinion on a particular topic heard by the readers of a newspaper, magazine, or other publishers. Through the letter, you can state your opinion and suggest the actions you want to take to remedy the issue being discussed.

The letter is a formal correspondence and should thus be professionally written and adequately addressed. It should be objective and considerate of the intended audience so as not to insult or discriminate against anyone.

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