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Writers and Editors (RSS feed)

What's up with 'Letters to the Editor'?

Letters to the Editor are written by members of the public (not newspaper or magazine staff), generally expressing a reader's opinion about a current issue.

Seven Tips for Crafting a Compelling Letter to the Editor from Media Matters: The Complete Guide to Getting Positive Media Attention (PDF Advocacy & Communication Solutions) Free download here.

• This "Dear IRS" letter Ed Barnett wrote to the Wichita Falls Times Record News in 2009 went viral.

Letter to the Editor Template (NAEYC)

Letters to the Editor (The New York Times)

Letters to the Editor (Washington Post)

     For example: Opinion: Only one party’s policies are increasing U.S. mortality (Guess which one.)

In the age of social media blasts, what’s the point of letters to the editor? (Marina Bolotnikova, Poynter, 3-18-22) Publishing readers’ letters sends a message that they are equal participants and that reader criticism is a necessary part of how the news is made. “Our older readers will write letters, but younger folks need to be invited and told that the thing that they just published on the internet is also a letter, and can be integrated into the conversation that the magazine is having.”

      If editors want letters to remain a live tradition, they can’t just wait for letters to come to them. Like Arielle Angel of Jewish Currents, Thornton solicits letters from readers who post strong reactions to the Los Angeles Times’ work on Twitter. “Half the time I don’t get any replies. But the times that I do, it elevates me, because seeing this occasionally vicious criticism on Twitter turn into a well-thought-out, well-argued letter to the editor is quite wonderful.”

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian, UK) An intelligent letter-writing readership.
The Top Letters to the Editor of 2021 (Dallas Morning News)
The Best Letters to the Editor in New Republic History (Woolf, Updike, and Nabokov)

Flintstones to Lance Armstrong: 8 of the Best Letters to the Editor (posted on Time, 11-28-14) Some of the best letters to the editor make us laugh.

From the editor: Statesman Journal stops publishing traditional opinion content (Cherrill Crosby, Salem Statesman Journal, 5-8-22) "We've learned via focus groups and feedback that this content does not resonate as it once did with audiences. It is among the least-read content that we produce, both online and in print. We know Statesman Journal readers want to be educated about the facts so they can make up their own minds as opposed to being told what to do....And because it is some of the least publicly understood as far as the difference between news and opinion content, opinion content also is tied to perceived problems of journalistic credibility, trust, objectivity and fairness."

Disgraced British Columbia politician seeks redemption. Former legislator Paul Reitsma who resigned in disgrace for writing letters to newspapers under fake names hopes to revive his political career on Vancouver Island.


What other great letters to the editor are out there? What good tips for writing effective letters to the editor?

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