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Letters to the editor are a newspaper's way of getting feedback from its readers. While they may only be able to publish a few of the letters they receive, editors are influenced by the volume of mail they get on a given topic. An article or editorial to which readers respond is more likely to be followed up with future pieces.

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Four Steps to Writing a Letter to the Editor

Below are four easy steps to remember when writing a Letter to the Editor. See below for more detailed information about the Letter to the Editor campaign.

  1. Respond to a recent news story or editorial. A good letter might begin, "Your article about youth violence ("Child Soldiers in America" Dec. 4) was excellent. Readers might also want to know that the Youth PROMISE Act is seeking to not just a deterrent to youth violence and gang activity, but will work to cultivate a deep and lasting solutions to violence at all levels of society"

  2. Make your letter short and legible (most will not accept over 200 words). It should contain a few striking facts that might surprise an editor or a reader. (U.S. youth homicide rates are more than 10 times that of other leading industrial nations, on par with the rates in developing countries and those experiencing rapid social and economic changes.) You might also reference the information in the overview and need document.

  3. Use descriptive words which communicate how passionately you feel about the issue. Don't be dry. ("I am concerned for my children and all the children of the world, that will inherit our troublesome relationships. We must begin to look at our social and political structures and how they promote things that will do nothing to bring forth deep and lasting peace for the coming generations.")

  4. Include your address, home and work phone numbers, and e-mail address.

Letter to the Editor Recommendations

When writing a letter to the editor, it is important that your letter is personal and relevant to your area. In this 'Letter to the Editor' campaign, we provide a tool for you to easily contact your local newspaper, as well as an outline of recommended points to include. You should definitely adopt what we have provided and make it stand out among the hundreds of letters your editor may receive on a weekly basis.

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Visit here for detailed instructions and recommendations on writing a letter to the editor.
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Visit here for an overview of the Youth PROMISE Act and Letter to the Edior tips.