Tips for Writing an Effective Letter to the Editor

  1. The email subject line should say “Letter to the Editor” and the letter’s salutation should be “To the Editor:.” 
  1. If you’re responding to a recently published article or editorial, indicate that up front in this way:

 Today’s date Re: “Title of the piece you’re responding to,” date it was published To the Editor:  

  1. Don’t exceed 150 words and, as long as you make your point, the shorter the better.
  1. Make the letter your own. Speak in your voice.  Say only what you truly believe. 
  1. Make clear your subject and main idea in the first sentence.
  1. Address one subject only. Don’t be tempted to add anything extra. 
  1. Make one call to action only. In this case, the call to action is to sign the letter What We Will Do to Hold America Together. Provide the link (this is essential):
  1. Edit for concision. Omit needless words.
  1. Send to one publication only.  Send to a second only if the first declines to publish.
  1. Close the letter this way:

 Sincerely,Your name [Your name] is [very brief ID. If you are a Braver Angels leader, say so.] [Your contact info: address, email, & phone number.] This letter is original and has not been previously published. 

  1. If you can co-author the letter with someone in the opposite party, that will increase the power of the message and probably the likelihood of publication. 
  2. Check the publication’s “Letters” section for instructions on submitting letters, such as who to send to, best email address, etc. If you don’t see anything (usually you will), use your judgement on how best to send to the paper’s editor and if possible opinion editor,.

 That’s it!  Low-tech, easy to do, and free, the classic American “letter to the editor” is one of today’s very best means of grassroots communication. Mastering and using this art will help our cause and make you a stronger leader! Good luck! –

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