A letter to the editor...powerful as a parade to get your message to the public!
Think about it: The Plain Dealer has a certified daily circulation of 875,000 readers and 1,141,000 on Sunday. Consider that "Letters To The Editor" are always a " most-read feature" in any newspaper, second only to the comics. Then realize that if just one of every 10 readers sees your "Letter to the Editor", you will have reached some 8,750 individuals from the comfort of your own home!
This is why "Letters to the Editor" (LTE),written clearly and concisely to a timely issue, are a powerful tool to promote Cleveland Peace Action's stance on important issues. Also, to counter messages hostile to our own purpose, and to reeducate.
Writing LTEs can be both invigorating and disappointing. Some days it appears the opposition's letters dominate the editorial page. The next day, it looks like the editors have joined our cause. That's how it goes. And the bottom line is to have more Peace Action letters printed than the opposition's. So let's write letters! Here's how:
Tips for Writing Letters to the Editor
· Type your letter double-spaced.
· Keep letter short and to the point. One page is ideal, 250 words maximum.
· Limit number of points you make and stay on the same subject.
· Be factual as possible without being dull.
· Avoid rambling sentences, big words.
· No name calling or demonizing.
· If you criticize, propose alternatives or solutions.
· Include full name, address and phone number.
· Mailed or faxed letters must be signed.
· Include full text within body of emailed letter. Don't send "attachments."
You have the best chance of publication when you respond to something recently printed, e.g., news story, column, editorial, advertisement, or other letter. You can use the reference to the first item as a springboard for stating your case. Your letter can support and expand on news items, make a point that was omitted, or you disagree with, and correct misinformation in whatever form it appeared. And ask for action. Tell readers, including our legislators, what you want them to do. You get their attention by putting their names in the letter and asking for action.
If your letter interests an editor, you'll usually get a call (to confirm you are the writer) within a day, maybe two, of receipt at the publication. If after three days and no call from the publication, feel free to readdress and send it to the next publication most likely to print it.
If you really like to write LTEs, consider joining the PEACE ACTION MEDIA NETWORK (PAMN), a group of committed letter writers. PAMN members receive periodic issue ideas and related background information to generate letters. To join the PAMN group, or for more information, contact Nina McLellan at 216-751-7150 or firstname.lastname@example.org