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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.

Letters

  • 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 diverse opinions.
  • Be creative. Catchy, humorous, even sarcastic letters can be more effective than dry, straightforward ones.
  • Include your full name (no initials), home address, email address and daytime and evening telephone numbers. Mandy newspapers will verify authorship of letters before publication
  • Make one point and support it with facts.
  • Personalize-Say WHY you care about the issue
  • Submit it electronically

Op-Ed

  • 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.

Examples