Tips for Getting Letters to the Editor Published
Letters written in response to editorials are more likely to be published than letters written in
response to wire stories (does not apply to major news stories). Avoid scathing criticism. Civility will
increase the likelihood of your views being printed.
Respond to major news stories while they are still hot. Nonetheless, investing time in editing pays
off. Always spell-check your letter.
Local newspapers are far more likely to publish letters than out of state papers (does not apply to
Adding local relevance helps, especially when replying to an AP wire story. Repeat information
found in the article if necessary.
Including credible statistics to make a point helps, especially when government statistics are used.
Include links to government websites whenever possible.
Write with a specific target audience in mind, i.e. soccer moms, fiscal conservatives, etc.
Tailor letters for specific newspapers. If you're going to write to the Wall Street Journal you can be
pedantic, but you'd better dumb it down for certain papers. You're always better off preempting
Use an organizational affiliation if possible.
Most newspapers require that letters submitted be exclusive. When recycling letters make slight
It's important to keep track of when you last sent a particular newspaper a letter. Likewise, avoid
sending the same letter to the same newspaper twice.
Last but definitely not least, visit the newspaper's website and find out what their policy is for
publishing letters. In general, letters should be under 250 words. The shorter the letter, the greater
the chance of it being published. Most papers will edit letters down to less than 200 words anyway.
You're better off aiming for roughly 200 words and sticking to one or two key points. There are
many brilliant activists out there who would be published far more often if they just shortened their
Special Thanks to Robert Sharpe and MAP, Inc for these tips