Writing Letters to the Editor and Op-Ed Articles
Letters to the editor and op-ed articles (abbreviated from opposite the editorial page) written by readers are ways to speak out on an issue, respond to an article or editorial, or express your position in your own words.
Writing letters to the editor or op-ed articles for your local newspaper can be influential and make an impact. A letter or op-ed that does not get published is valuable because it may be considered by a newspaper’s editorial board or may even cause the paper to write a story on the issue.
Hints for Writing Effective Letters to the Editor and Op-Ed Articles
• Be brief and focus on one issue. If the letter is too long, the newspaper may edit out important facts. The average letter to the editor should be between 150 and 250 words. The average op-ed is usually longer, between 500 and 750 words.
• When writing a letter to the editor, refer to a recent event or an article that appeared in the newspaper and include the article’s date and title.
• When applicable, close your letter or op-ed by asking readers to contact their legislators or other policymakers about the issue.
• Always include full name, address, and phone number for verification.
• Clip your published letter or article and mail or fax it to your legislators.