17 May 2013 Helpful hints on letter writing
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Here are a few letter writing tips:
- Respond directly to either a current news story or an article or commentary published within the last week. Follow the format used in the publication you are sending to. The standard format is: Re: “Be a voice for the voiceless” – June 21, 2012
- Focus on one issue only. Trying to address separate issues in one letter will decrease your chances of getting published. Be sure to follow the guidelines regarding word count. Most community newspapers allow a maximum of 250 words, whereas larger publications often limit it to 200 or less.
- Remove all non-essential words. For example, don’t say, “I think” or “I believe”. It’s obvious and will increase the chance of editors changing the letter.
- Use verified facts.
- Email your letter in the body of the email. Never send unsolicited attachments.
- Include your full address and daytime phone number with the letter.
- Pay attention to other letters that are published. Note what is effective and ineffective about them in order to help you improve your own skills.
- If your letter doesn’t get published the first time you send one in, don’t be disheartened. News publications receive many letters, so please try again.