The Letters to the Editor sections of newspapers and magazines have the potential to have a big impact and are a good place to voice your opinion. You can usually find the contact details on the letters page of a newspaper or magazine, or on their website.
Most will have a strict word limit. Be brief and keep to the point. Editors cut from the bottom, so ensure all your important information is in the first paragraph.
Successful letters will be well-written, timely and contain a considered analysis about a particular subject. It often helps if you write in direct response to an article published by that publication. You should feel free to express a strong opinion! – but letters that are aggressive or poorly-written are less likely to be published.
1. Be concise and to the point
You should start by identifying the issue, explaining what you would like to be done about the issue, and finish by summarising your points and highlighting the reason for writing.
2. Write in a plain format
Do not use any visual embellishment such as smiley faces, emojis, multiple colours, fonts or text sizes (the formatting won’t appear in the published version anyway).
3. Be objective and professional
Avoid personal attacks or insults. Your concerns will be taken far more seriously if you keep it polite. Focus on the facts and evidence.
4. Be factual and well-researched with accurate spelling and grammar
5. Provide a two-way method of contact
Always include your name, address/email address and phone number so that the publication can respond to you, and confirm that you are a real person. If using a hard-copy format, sign your name and then print it underneath.
6. If writing a hard-copy letter, it is better to type it than to hand-write it (although usually, it’s better to email if you can!)