Letter to the Editor Format

A proper letter to the editor is significant in getting your message across the masses. Guiding you on some fundamentals of how to write a letter to professionals who edit hundreds of article per day, this article highlights all important facets associated with the same.
Writing a letter to the editor is a good idea to start with if you are trying to use newspapers and other forms of print media as a platform to express your views. There can be various reasons for writing a letter and they can be related to spreading mass awareness, delivering a message, analyzing policies of the government, expressing regards to people, asking for media coverage and various other reasons. While you have to be polite in your words, you have to be accurate in facts and figures that you are going to mention in the letter.

Letter writing is, in essence, an art that requires you to be precise and yet effective in conveying your message to the audience or the party concerned. Avoiding over usage of certain words, limiting your jargon usage and using refined language is absolutely important. Moreover, the importance of a proper letter to the editor can't be understated. Here in this article, I have discussed an example of a letter that will help you to understand various dimensions associated to writing these types of letters.

Tips for Writing a Letter to Editor

A letter has to be written by keeping certain points in mind. Firstly, the letter format has to be proper. When we talk about format of the letter, it means that your message must be in coherence and not begin or end abruptly. Details about your address and contact numbers must be specifically mentioned in the letter as that will help the media you are sending your letter validate that the letter is from proper resources. Here are some tips for writing a letter to the editor:
  • Choose one issue about which you wish to write the letter. Ensure that there is a title about what you are writing.
  • Begin by writing your interest in the issue as an individual or as an organization (if you are representing an organization). This states the purpose of letter in short.
  • Write 2 - 3 sentences about giving some examples to validate your interest/reason for writing the letter. These may be facts and data collected by you that highlight the intensity of a specific situation or other similar things.
  • Give some of your personal opinions.
  • In one or two sentences, provide motivation or encourage readers to champion the cause that you are trying to highlight through your letter like global warming, pollution, traffic problems, etc.
  • Ensure all paragraphs are properly assembled.
  • Mention your full name and contact details properly at the end of the letter.
  • Proofreading the letter is important as that will help to cast a good impression on the editor. Poorly proofread letters are not accepted. Show professionalism and do proofread it.
  • Check out local newspapers address, emails ids and send your letter. Research proper way of sending the letter. Some newspapers accept attachments while some prefer full text in the body.
A Sample Letter

Date: 03/14/2012

To,
The Editor,
The New Era Times,
9 West 57th Street,
NY, 4123
USA

Subject: Spreading Mass Awareness About Dangers of Using a Cell Phone While Driving

Through your esteemed newspaper, we are pleased and honored to express our views on increasing threats of using a cell phone while driving. We are the undergrad students of St. Patrick's College in Park Street, New York. In an unfortunate incident, exactly two weeks ago, we lost one of our classmates, Nick Breck (21), in a tragic accident. He succumbed to severe injuries before he could be taken to the hospital. The cause of accident as reported by the police officials has been negligent driving. It is mentioned in the report that Nick was talking on a cell phone that led to a lapse in his concentration and he eventually lost his control, bumping into a huge cargo truck.

His sudden demise has left us in inexplicable pain. As a tribute to our love for Nick, we all have decided to gather courage and recover from this shock. To engage ourselves in constructive work, we have started a campaign to spread awareness about accidents related to cell phones and driving. In the reference material attached to this letter, you can see various newspapers cuttings and photographs that highlight the gravity of the situation. In the year 2008 alone, nearly 6,000 American residents lost their lives because of accidents related to a cell phone use while driving. Moreover, car crashes and texting while driving have been related more closely in recent years. Cell phones usage while driving has been rated to be far more dangerous than drunk driving, which highlights the dangers of using cell phones when we are commuting from one destination to the other.

Students of our college have vouched never to use a cell phone while driving and we have made several communities on social networking websites to promote the same cause. Coming Sunday, we have called for a meeting of teenagers and youth in our locality to share our views and opinions on this sensitive topic. The discussion will be addressed by our college principal, Mr. Ben Jon. We are trying to contact some other senior people in highway control departments so that the discussion can get more media coverage and the message can be spread far and wide. We are also carrying out a Silent Candle March on the same day in the evening to highlight the cause.

We kindly request your newspaper team to provide us media coverage so that our campaign and the idea behind it can get recognition, thereby spreading more awareness about cell phone use in cars and its dangerous consequences. For any information and in case you are interested in helping us, please feel free to contact at our college office phone number (777) 651-4860 or on the address mentioned below.

Yours sincerely,
John Gates (Coordinator)
St. Patrick's College,
234, Park Street
NY, 4123
USA

The example mentioned in this article was concerned with a cause that involves community and its people. Similar to this, there can be various reasons in writing the letter. Mostly, newspapers help citizens and readers to come up with their views and opinions and they surely give a chance to the readers to get published. However, since the number of letters to the editor can be many, they prefer to screen those that have been properly written and well drafted. So, if you want to get published in a newspaper, your entries must be properly formatted and well written.
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