Write a Letter to the Editor
A letter to the editor (LTE) is a great way to spread awareness about your issue. You can write letters to the editor of a local newspaper, online magazine, or blog as a way to share your opinion, along with facts about the cause and how to get involved in your campaign.
Similar to writing an op-ed, your LTE can be focused on more of an emotional experience with your cause, or it could be more straightforward and fact-based. Keep in mind the readership of the outlet you are sending your LTE to in order to help determine what kind of writing style is most appropriate for your piece. Also, keep in mind that your LTE could take a stance of agreement with or opposition to the original piece you are responding to.
We’ve included an example letter to the editor below, in response to a hypothetical article about a rise in global childhood obesity rates. Before we dive in, here are some key points to remember as you write your own letter:
- You can respond to any article that you feel relates to your cause as a hook to get the editor’s attention with your letter.
- Your LTE should be short and concise, up to 250 words max. Most publications have regulations around how long your letters can be, so you can check with the editor of the publication you’re submitting your letter to.
- Include your name and contact information (including phone number) when you submit your letter. The publication will often call to verify that you truly submitted it.
- Create a title that offers a preview of your subject matter and also attracts the attention of your audience.
- Talk about the issue from your perspective. Why is this important to you? Why do you think it would be important to people in your community?
Ex. YOU can improve the health of Green County’s employees and families
Make sure to include the author’s name, title, and date of the article, so that people can go back and read the original piece.
Regarding [AUTHOR’S NAME]’s article, [TITLE AND DATE OF ARTICLE]:
State whether you’re in agreement or disagreement with the article and then make a few key points to explain why.
I get it.
When I read [AUTHOR’S NAME]’s article on the lack of healthy snack choices at Spring Lake State Park vending machines, I thought, “Exactly!” As an avid biker, I spend most of my weekends in Arkansas parks. There’s nothing quite like a long ride through the trails. I am usually hungry after, and I often head to the visitor’s center to grab a snack. But the options range from chips and candy to soda.
Include a solution to the problem, tying your cause to the article. In this case, healthy options in vending machines are one solution to help resolve the obesity problem in the U.S.
I start the day with healthy exercise, and I want to end it with a nutritious snack. But that’s not as easy as it should be.
Our state parks offer a space to stay healthy—places to bike, hike, play, and be active. It just makes sense that the state would also support the health of Arkansans by ensuring that healthy food and drink choices are available where food is sold. An active lifestyle and healthy eating go hand-in-hand.
Our state leaders should support healthy eating and active living that will help prevent disease and promote healthy weight, however, I’m seeing a disconnect. Our parks promote a healthy lifestyle, yet lack the same opportunities when it comes to what is available for purchase to eat and drink.
Don’t forget to include a link to action, your organization’s website, or another site you want audiences to visit! This is how to cultivate readers into advocates for your cause.
Let’s ask our state leaders to look at the snack options provided in our park’s vending machines so healthy choices will be more readily available.
Help us make a difference. To learn how you can get involved and Restock our Future™, check out [ORGANIZATION WEBSITE].
Include the organizations or businesses that the signer represents as it relates to your cause. This will help establish credibility and relevance to the signer’s perspective.
[ORGANIZATION LEADER OR MAIN POINT OF CONTACT]
WORD COUNT: 250