Write a Letter to the Editor
A letter to the editor (LTE) is a great way to spread awareness about your issue. You can write letters to the editor of a local newspaper, online magazine or blog as a way to share your opinions, along with facts about the cause and how to get involved in your campaign.
Similar to writing an op-ed, your LTE can be focused on more of an emotional experience with your cause, or it could be more straightforward and fact-based. Keep in mind the readership of the outlet you are sending your LTE to in order to help determine what kind of writing style is most appropriate for your piece. Also, keep in mind that your LTE could take a stance of agreement with or opposition to the original piece you are responding to.
We’ve included an example letter to the editor below. Here are some key points to remember as you write your own letter:
- You can respond to any article that you feel relates to your cause as a hook to get the editor’s attention with your letter.
- Your LTE should be short and concise. Most publications have regulations around how long your letters can be, so check with the editor of the publication you’re submitting your letter to before you begin writing.
- Include your name and contact information (including phone number) when you submit your letter. The publication will often call to verify that you truly submitted it.
- Create a title that offers a preview of your subject matter and also attracts the attention of your audience.
- Talk about the issue from your perspective. Why is this important to you? Why do you think it would be important to people in your community?
- Write and submit an LTE to a specific publication. Do not send the same letter to more than one publication!
Make sure to include the author’s name, title and date of the article, so that people can go back and read the original piece.
Regarding [“TITLE OF ARTICLE”], [DATE OF ARTICLE AND PAGE NUMBER (if print)]
State whether you’re in agreement or disagreement with the article, and then make a few key points to explain why.
[AUTHOR’S NAME]’s article underscores [OR fails to recognize] that water is a basic human need that none of us can live without. For children, access to clean drinking water at school is essential. All children, no matter where they live or what grade they’re in, deserve to go to a school that provides free, clean drinking water.
Include a path forward, tying your cause to the article.
Yet here in [NAME OF CITY OR TOWN] [ONE OR TWO SENTENCES BRIEFLY DESCRIBING THE PROBLEM].
When children don’t have enough water to drink, their health and their cognitive performance, particularly short-term memory, may suffer. And, when water is not available, children tend to consume more sugary drinks, which can contribute to excess weight gain.
Because children spend so much time at school, having fresh, clean water available to them there is critical.
[DEPENDING ON THE PROBLEM, OFFER ONE OR TWO SOLUTIONS, LIKE: WATER-FRIENDLY POLICIES THAT ALLOW CHILDREN TO BRING WATER BOTTLES WITH THEM TO CLASS OR GO TO A DRINKING FOUNTAIN WHEN THEY ARE THIRSTY; INSTALLATION OF WATER FOUNTAINS AND/OR FILLING STATIONS; ENSURING THAT WATER IN SCHOOLS IS CLEAN AND SAFE, ETC.]
Let’s make sure that all our children can get the water they need to thrive in school and in life.
Don’t forget to include a link to action, your organization’s website or another site you want audiences to visit! This is how you convert readers into advocates for your cause.
Visit [ORGANIZATION NAME AND WEBSITE] to learn more about this important issue.
Be sure to sign your letter with your name, organization affiliation or campaign name.
[ORGANIZATION LEADER OR MAIN POINT OF CONTACT]