Writing Letters to the Editors

Writing Letters to the Editors

If you want to submit a Letter to the Editor of a publication, whether online or print, go to the publication’s home page and search for “sending a Letter to the Editor” for the specific guidelines.

In general:

  • Be prepared to write a very short letter if you are commenting on a recent news article or opinion piece; some publications restrict submissions to as little as 150 words for letters and 500 words for guest opinion pieces.
  • Structure your submission to be short, clearly written, and focused on making only one or two cogent points. If selected for publication, it’s likely your submission will be edited for brevity, as well as grammar and style.
  • In keeping with the pace of the news cycle, your letter should be submitted within 24 hours of when the article on which you’re commenting appeared.
  • Refer to the article’s headline and date of publication in your first sentence.
  • Sign your message with your full name and provide an email and a phone number at which you can be contacted for verification.
  • If your letter is in response to a column, consider sending your response directly to that columnist, as well as submitting it as a Letter to the Editor. Be clear with both recipients where/to whom you’ve submitted your response.
  • Understand that your letter to the editor may only appear online if the publication has a both printed and e-versions.
  • Most publications do not acknowledge the receipt of letters or comments. It’s okay to follow up with an email or phone call, with the understanding that the publication will not always respond.

So… why bother with a Letter to the Editor at all?

  • A brief, well-written letter has a good chance of appearing, with the caveat that a publication is unlikely to run multiple letters about the same issue.
  • Most legitimate media outlets do want to appear to be balanced, non-partisan, and objective in their coverage of topics like the Israel-Hamas war and antisemitism.
  • The very act of crafting your letter can be useful in organizing your thoughts about the difficult topics we are all grappling with right now—thoughts which you can share on your own social media and throughout your network of family, friends and colleagues.

Some publications also offer opportunities to submit factual corrections.

  • The online hotlinks to do this are not always obvious, but may be at the end of online articles for subscribed readers to notify the editors.
  • Just make sure you are indeed reporting a factual error and not just your opinion.
  • Disagreeing with statements, emphasis and sources in an article—or a columnist’s stance on an issue—does not constitute inaccurate reporting.