A letter to the Editor is a conventional letter sent to a magazine or newspaper to discuss the problems from its readers. One must strictly follow the format of the letter. It can also be written to get published either through electronic or conventional mail. In most cases, such a letter- intended for publishing in magazines and newspapers- is at times published in other mediums like technical and entertainment magazines, radio, and TV stations.
Reasons why people write a letter to the Editor
A Letter to the Editor is one of the most popular read features in any magazine or newspaper. It allows one to reach a broader audience. There are many specific reasons to write a letter to the Editor. But, here are the general reasons for writing a letter to the Editor:
- Proposing an idea to others
- Letting out your grievances
- Impact public opinion
- Educate the public on a specific issue
- Impact elected officials or policymakers in a direct or indirect way
- Increase awareness on organizational issues
- Publicize your group and attract volunteers
- Discussing public opinions and sharing your feelings about people
How to Submit your Letter to the Editor
Almost all print publications prefer getting their letters or other materials through emails since everything they publish is usually available on a computer and printed from software. One can still send in their letter via mail, but for time-sensitive issues, this is not always recommended as you will have to wait longer after it has been received for printing.
After receiving your letter, the editors will then attempt to include the letter in their next issue. Only letters that are of high quality and sound scientific principles are usually considered for publications. All letters usually undergo thorough scrutiny by the members of the Editorial Board before being approved for publications.
Letter to the Editor Format
If you are looking to send a letter to the Editor, make sure to refer to the following points to know how to format your letter to the Editor properly:
- Sender’s address: make sure to include your address and contact details when writing the letter. Also, include your phone number and email if necessary.
- Date: exclude one space or line and write the date just below the sender’s address
- Receiving Editor’s address: include the address of the publication you are sending the letter to, i.e., the Editor’s address
- The subject of the letter: the subject or reference of your letter must convey the main purpose of the letter to the readers. This way, they will capture the reader’s attention, thereby increasing your chances of your letter being published.
- Salutation: address the recipient of the letter formally. If you know the Editor’s name, you can also write it to increase the chances of your letter being read.
- Body: the body of your letter to the Editor should contain at least three paragraphs.
- Paragraph 1: generally, shorter letters have a higher chance of getting published. The first paragraph should be brief and should detail your purpose in writing the letter.
- Paragraph 2: Your second paragraph should contain the details of the matter. In this paragraph, include proposals on how the issue could be improved.
- Paragraph 3: In your third paragraph, write about your expectations from the Editor. In the last paragraph of your letter, recap your point, include specific information on how the readers can get involved, and reiterate your call to action.
- Senders name, signature, and designation: ensure that you have written your name, signature, and the designation, if any, you can also include your address, email, and your phone number.
Sample Letters & Examples
Letter to the Editor on Social Problems: Sample
652, Sun Park
Dated: 14th Aug 202XX
New Daily Times
Subject: Public campaign to clean Sun Park River
I am Mary Paul, a member of NGO Landers. I am writing to you to highlight the declining situation of the Sun Park River.
Milan is getting polluted water from the Sun Park River and the community is being blamed for this. The river has been polluted with dirt, muck, and garbage. Sun Park River has been filled with waste materials, bacteria, plastic, and chemicals and it is not in good condition for consumption.
The community has been trying to get water treatment plants for years now but the authorities have bot responded to their requests.
I, therefore, request you to highlight the issue in your newspaper to generate public interest on the matter. We all have come together to set up the plant in the area.
Writing a letter to the Editor can be a great way to share your knowledge about various issues affecting the various sectors in your community. Such letters are a great way of reaching a wider audience. Keep in mind that the letter is a formal letter and the format should be followed strictly. Your letter to the Editor will get published based on a set extent on the publication. Big publication companies receive thousands of letters everyday but they will only select one or two for publication. Remember that it is up to the Editors to approve your letter for publication or not. Common reasons why your letter may be rejected include; if your letter contains: libellous statements, personal attacks to individuals or organizations, unreasonably lengthy of if it has been submitted anonymously.