For Health Professionals: How to Write a Letter to the Editor
What is a letter to the editor?
You feel strongly about an issue. You want to share your thoughts and feelings about the issue(s). A letter to the editor is a great way to express your thoughts and feelings to a broad audience. They can be found in an editorial section or the front section of a newspaper or a magazine. Letters to the editor can inform or take a position for or against an issue.
Lisa Johnson is a respiratory therapist and is Co-Chair of North Carolina Asthma Alliance and M&O supporter.
Click here for a great example of a letter to the editor from Lisa Johnson, a respiratory therapist and M&O supporter, who wrote that its critical that we continue to take steps to improve the air we breathe and reduce the harmful effects caused by breathing ozone. Her letter was published in The Daily Reflector.
Why write a letter to the editor?
You write a letter to the editor because you…
- Feel strongly about an issue or cause and want other people to know about it
- Educate the public about an issue or cause
- Persuade the public, groups, or policymakers to take action on an issue or a cause
- Recruit others to help with your organization’s programs and services
When to write a letter to the editor?
You can write a letter to the editor at anytime that you want to express your thoughts on an issue, educate the public about an issue, persuade others to take action on an issue, or to promote a program or service by generating awareness on a issue or cause.
How to write a letter to the editor? The following tips and resources will help you in writing your letter to the editor.
Timing is everything!
While you can write a letter to the editor anytime, doing so in conjunction with a bill or a major issue will increase your chances of getting it published.
Newspaper and magazines are written for an 8th grade reading level. Avoid using long sentences, standardized testing words, and jargon. Many papers have word limits for their letters to the editor.
Get to the point
Grab the readers’ attention immediately by use a clear main point, followed by two to three supporting points.
Check your facts
Check the accuracy and source of any quotes, studies, literature that you cite in your letter to the editor.
Make it local
Focus on an issue that readers are more likely to relate and will increase the odds of them taking action.
Call to action
Close your letter with specific call to action from the reader.