Want to make sure that your voice is heard? Write a letter! The letters page of the newspaper is the most highly read section of the paper, and the first section that elected officials check to see what their community members are saying.
Even letters that aren't published have an impact, because they give the media a sense of the general public mood. By sending letters you ensure that the media hears your message, loud and clear. And when your letter is published, you know for certain that it will be read.
We've made it easy to send a letter to your local paper. Read through these tips and examples, and enter your zip code for links to all your local newspapers.
Tips for letter writers:
Keep your letter short: 100-200 words.
Start with a "hook" -- a personal story or a connection between your letter and something that's going on in the news.
Choose one topic and stick to it. For example, one of these:
- Every woman should have the ability to make her own decision about bringing a child into the world.
- The government and religious extremists should not be able to take the decision away from a woman and her family.
- An abortion fund makes a real difference in my community.
- The Hyde Amendment harms women.
- Thank a local lawmaker for taking a principled stand on a tough issue.
- A response to an article or opinion piece that appeared in the paper.
Personalize your letter: Explain how the issue affects you or your community. Choose from the talking points we have provided (in the next step), or fill in the letter on your own.
If possible, give a suggestion for how to change things: call legislators, write to the President, vote for a certain measure, donate to a specific cause, sign a petition.
Use your real name. You may be asked to provide a phone number so that the editors can contact you and verify your identity.
Step 1 - Select a Recipient
Are you responding to an article in a specific paper or a specific community issue, or are you trying to make as much noise as you can, far and wide? Smaller city or town papers tend to have more room for letters from locals, but larger metro papers are read by more people.