|Letters to the Editor can be a powerful way to make your voice heard, garner media attention and catch the attention of your elected representatives and other decision-makers. Below are some tips to help increase the effectiveness of your letters and to boost its chances of being published.|
1. Respond directly either to breaking news or an article or commentary published in the previous two days (for dailies) or the previous issue of a weekly paper. Follow the format used in the target publication. The typical format is: Re “Talking With the Taxman,” (national news, Jan. 13). Your report neglected one key fact…
2. Focus on one important point (don’t try to address separate issues in one letter). 3. Follow the guidelines and word count limit of the target publication.
4. Remove every non-essential word. For example, don’t say, “I think…” It’s obvious. This also minimizes the chance of editors changing the letter.
5. Use only verified facts. Take the time to check original sources rather than repeating “fact” cited in another media outlet.
6. Create immediacy by indicating how readers will be affected by the issue you address. Ask your readers for action, when relevant, including your elected representatives — by including their names in the letter and asking for action, you can get their attention.
7. Point people to a source for more information or to engage in action whenever practical.
8. Include your letter in the body of your email rather than as an attachment and put “Letter re: your topic or article name ” in the subject line. 9. Include your address and daytime phone number for verification.
10. If the publication publishes an online version, hyperlink the relevant websites or emails.
11. Pay attention to letters and comments by others. Note effective and ineffective approaches (especially letters that effectively argue a position you oppose), style, length, etc. This will help you improve rapidly.
12. Speak in the language and to the literacy level of that publication’s readers.
1. Send your letter as an attachment.
2. Attempt to address more than one topic in your letter.
3. Insult your opponents (or anyone else).
4. Overstate/exaggerate your points. One overstatement makes every following point suspect.
5. Use jargon or acronyms (spell out any name the first time you use it, followed by the acronym in parentheses).
6. Use all capital letters or bold text to emphasize a word. It will rarely be printed that way and may prevent your letter from being considered. You may italicize one or two words, but most papers will print it in plain text regardless — the words must speak for themselves.
|PAPER||LETTERS DUE BY||WORD LIMIT||SUBMISSION EMAIL/FORM||ANY OTHER NOTES/REQUIREMENTS|
|Albany Times Union||<250 email@example.com||Attachments discouraged. Must be exclusive to TU. Name, address, and phone number required.|
|Catskill Mountain Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Chatham Courier||Under 250||https://www.columbiagreenemedia.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/||Name, address, phone required|
|Daily Freeman||Under email@example.com||No email attachments. Name, home town, daytime phone required.|
|Daily Gazette||Under 200||https://dailygazette.com/form/submit-a-letter-to-the-editor or firstname.lastname@example.org||Must provide name, address and daytime phone number.|
|Hudson Register-Star||Under 500||https://www.registerstar.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/||Name, address, phone required|
|Kingston Times||Monday for following Thursday||Under email@example.com||.docx attachments OK. Name, address, phone required.|
|Mountain Eagle||Under 250||https://www.columbiagreenemedia.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/||Name, address, phone required|
|New Paltz Times||3:30 PM on Friday||Under firstname.lastname@example.org||Name, address, phone required|
|Oneonta Daily Star||Under 300||https://www.thedailystar.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/||Name, address, phone required|
|Poughkeepsie Journal||Under email@example.com||Name, address, phone required|
|Register Star||https://www.registerstar.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/||Name, address, phone, email required|
|Saugerties Times||Monday for following Thursday||Under firstname.lastname@example.org||Name, address, phone required|
|The Columbia Paperemail@example.com|
|Windham Journal||Under 250||https://www.columbiagreenemedia.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/||Name, address, phone required|
|Woodstock Times||Monday for following Thursday||Under firstname.lastname@example.org||Name, address, phone required|