How to Get a Letter to the Editor Published

Before starting this blog, I used to vent my thoughts by writing letters to newspapers. I’ve probably had about two dozen printed, but haven’t done many in recent years.

I actually wrote several before I had one published. After that, I hit on the formula, and most every letter I sent after that was printed somewhere.

Here’s my formula:

1. Always start by referencing a specific article or previous letter that recently appeared in the publication. Random rants are the stuff of blogs, not op-ed pages.

2. Keep it short. No paragraph should be longer than three simple sentences. You might be burning to pen an intricate analysis, but it’ll never see the light of day.

3. End with a memorable sound bite: a pithy quip, quote, accusation, or call to action.

One comment on “How to Get a Letter to the Editor Published

  1. My letter to the editor was in regard to the name of the Clinton Michigan High School team, The Redskins. Some assumed this to be racially insensitive.

    I pointed out that they were names after Michigan’s not-quite famous redskin potatoes and that they needed to revise the mascot.

    To those pushing for a rename, I suggested the Clinton Little Blue Dresses, or the Dewitt Clinton Canal Diggers.

    Unfortunately, I would get calls from people wanting to talk about my letter.

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