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Press Release

    Tips for Writing Letters to the Editor

    07/23/2000

    Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper alerts the general public to what's happening in Washington, D.C., and throughout your state. Although publication policies vary, the following advice applies to most newspapers:

    Keep your letter brief. Many newspapers will not consider letters longer than 200-300 words (1 to 1-1/2yped pages, double spaced). Type your letter if you can; many editors won't read letters that are not typed.

    Keep to the point. If you are responding to a news story or editorial, you don't need to give many background details. You may want to start by saying,"In response to your (DATE) editorial regarding …"

    State your views quickly and in an organized way. Use a simple, conversational tone.

    Be sure to use facts that will support your points (CSE publications are a good source) to ensure that your letter is informative and useful to readers.

    Be polite, even when you disagree.

    Give your full name, address, and daytime telephone number. Anonymous letters generally are not published, though upon request, some editors may withhold the name of the letter writer. Also, be sure to identify yourself as a member of Citizens for a Sound Economy.

    Don't get discouraged if your letter is not printed the first time. Editors receive countless letters, and they simply don't have room to print them all.

    Your persistence will pay off. If your letter is published, please send a copy to CSE. Consider sending the newspaper clipping to your elected representatives as well. This is a good way to show them that your views are getting public attention.