Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor
Another tactic for reaching the public through the media is to submit Op-ed pieces or
letters to the editor. Both are used to offer a high-profile opinion or commentary on a
current situation, or a reaction to a previously published article or opinion. Signed
by the writer, they have the ability to increase the visibility of the organization if
used wisely and judiciously.
- Write fast. If you’re writing in response to a recent event or to something
recently published, do it quickly. Editors are more likely to publish the first letters
to arrive than letters that come weeks later.
- Cite the article
- Read published letters, check guidelines
- Be clear and concise -50-250 words (check the paper’s guidelines)
- First sentence should be passionate then build your case
- Make it short and snappy. Have a point and get to it quickly.
- Make your letter newsworthy. Newspapers like to use the letters page to encourage
- Be creative. Catchy, humorous, even sarcastic letters can be more effective than
dry, straightforward ones.
- Include your full name (no initials), home address, e-mail address and daytime and
evening telephone numbers. Mandy newspapers will verify authorship of letters before
- Make one point and support it with facts.
- Personalize-Say WHY you care about the issue
- Submit it electronically
- Make it timely and newsworthy
- Use ingenuity and strong argument
- Use Personal experience and first-person narrative when in service to a larger idea
- Aim for 750 words (some are as short as 300 words)
- Make one argument thoroughly, point by point
- They choose the illustrations and headlines
Online Message Boards
Unlike print editions, everything gets
posted on the online message boards or blogs on newspaper Web sites and others.