DFL48 | Restoring Common Sense Minnesota Values

Mar/14

12

How to Write a Letter to the Editor

The letters to the editor page of a newspaper is one of the most read pages in the paper. It can also be a great forum for getting your message out to a wider audience.

When thinking about where to submit your letter, don’t just assume the StarTribune is your only option. The local, weekly papers are looking for content and don’t receive the large number of letters our daily paper does. So, consider submitting your letter there. We’ll provide you with contact information later in this post.

To have the best chance of getting your letter published:

Do:

  • Respond directly to something that’s happening right now (breaking news) or an article or commentary published in the previous two days (for the StarTribune) or previous issue (for the weeklies).
  • Use the format of the publication you’re submitting to, mention the article or commentary you’re responding to in your subject line.
  • Focus on one important point so you don’t muddy the issue or situation in your reader’s mind
  • Don’t exceed 250 words
  • Edit, edit, edit. Make certain you’ve removed every non-essential word from your letter.
  • Use verified facts. Take the time to check original sources rather than repeating something you think to be a fact (these can be included in footnotes to show the paper you’ve done your homework)
  • Speak from your heart, let people know why you’re affected by this issue or situation. It helps others put themselves in your shoes and feel what you’re feeling.
  • Give people information on where to go for more information on the situation or issue.
  • Submit your e-mail either through the publication’s website or with an e-mail.
  • Don’t submit the same letter to the same publication with one e-mail with multiple recipients.
  • Include your contact information (e-mail address, daytime phone number).

If the publication is thinking about running your letter, you’ll get a phone call checking to see you’re a real person and that you submitted the letter. It’s a good sign.  It’s OK to ask the editor calling when the letter will appear.

For weekly papers, if yo don’t get “the call”, it’s OK to call and make a polite inquiry about the letter’s status.

Don’ts

  • Don’t over exaggerate your points, it makes people question anything else you say.
  • Don’t insult anyone you’re opposed or writing to refute.
  • Avoid industry or political jargon or acronyms, spell everything out the first time and include the acronym in parentheses the first time
  • Don’t use all caps or bold text to emphasize a word. The paper won’t print it that way and could stop your letter from being included. You can italicize a word or two, but even that probably won’t make the printed page.

Local Media:

Submit a letter to the Eden Prairie News here. The deadline is 12:00 pm the Monday before the Thursday publication.

Submit a letter to the Sun Papers here. The deadline is 5:00 pm the Thursday before the following Thursday publication.

Submit a letter to the Lakeshore Weekly News here. The deadline is 5:00 pm the Wednesday of the week before publication.

Citizen Journalism Sites:

These sites are minimally monitored. An account will need to be created to post anything.

Eden Prairie Patch

Minnetonka Patch

Daily

Submit a letter to the StarTribune

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©2014 DFL SD 48. Prepared and paid for by Senate District 48 DFL, Sharon Borine, Chair, 18285 Croixwood Ln, Eden Prairie, MN 55347