32. 'Letters to Editors' and Opinion Articles
Description and Purpose:
Advice about writing successful ‘letters to editors’ and opinion articles.
Read the following advice, and apply it whenever preparing ‘letters to editors’ and opinion articles (in so far as it is applicable to your national situation).
Letters to the Editors
Letters to the editor in newspapers and magazines provide readers with the opportunity to comment on issues covered by the publication. While only a certain limited number of letters are actually selected for publication, letters to the editor provide a simple way to communicate to a wide audience.
Most publications contain specific guidelines for submitting a letter to the editor, including very limited word-counts. Most publications require letters of less than 200 words. This means that letters must be concise. To increase the chances of publication, letters should comply with the publication guidelines, refer to previous articles or current events, and include contact information.
Tips for Editors Letters
- Keep letter tightly composed
- Use specific examples
- One point per letter
- Accurate, up-to-date information
- Don’t make personal attacks on those opposing your viewpoint
- Always sign your name
- Include contact details
In addition to letters to the editor, newspapers also include opinion pieces that are written by members of the community rather than by journalists. Opinion articles provide the opportunity to comment more extensively on an issue of public concern or debate.
Publication of an opinion piece is more difficult than getting a letter to the editor published. To increase the chances of publication, the topic should be related to current issues.