How to write a letter to the editor

Your opinion matters and can influence other citizens and government officials through the letter-to-the-editor column in your local newspaper.  Write to local and regional newspapers in your area. Don't forget weeklies too.  It is sometimes easier to get letters printed there if they are not accepted by a daily.

Papers receive a great many letters to the editor. The more people send letters to the editor on one topic, the better chance that one will get printed.

One of the best ways to get a letter to the editor printed is to respond to a recent news story or opinion column.

To make your letter most effective:

  1.  Make the letter short, between 100 and 200 words and no more than three quick paragraphs.  Shorter is better.
  2. Make it punchy. Using humor, sarcasm or ridicule tastefully can make it more entertaining while getting your point across.  Avoid sounding angry, judgmental, nasty or disrespectful.
  3. Refer to your most important point in the first paragraph.

If you are responding to an article or opinion column:

  1. Reference the title, date and author of the original piece in your opening sentence.
  2. Suggest what the reporter/author should have said.

Do not waste space repeating what the article said; instead, begin with your main point.

Where to send California letters to the editor

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