Write a Letter to the Editor
A letter to the editor (LTE) is a great way to spread awareness about your issue. You can write letters to the editor of a local newspaper, online magazine, or blog as a way to share your opinion, along with facts about the cause and how to get involved in your campaign.
Similar to writing an op-ed, your LTE can be focused on more of an emotional experience with your cause, or it could be more straightforward and fact-based. Keep in mind the readership of the outlet you are sending your LTE to in order to help determine what kind of writing style is most appropriate for your piece. Also, keep in mind that your LTE could take a stance of agreement with or opposition to the original piece you are responding to.
We’ve included an example letter to the editor below, in response to a hypothetical article about a rise in global childhood obesity rates. Before we dive in, here are some key points to remember as you write your own letter:
- You can respond to any article that you feel relates to your cause as a hook to get the editor’s attention with your letter.
- Your LTE should be short and concise, up to 250 words max. Most publications have regulations around how long your letters can be, so you can check with the editor of the publication you’re submitting your letter to.
- Include your name and contact information (including phone number) when you submit your letter. The publication will often call to verify that you truly submitted it.
- Create a title that offers a preview of your subject matter and also attracts the attention of your audience.
- Talk about the issue from your perspective. Why is this important to you? Why do you think it would be important to people in your community?
Ex. Our kids deserve a standard!
Make sure to include the author’s name, title, and date of the article, so that people can go back and read the original piece.
Regarding [AUTHOR’S NAME]‘s article, [TITLE AND DATE OF ARTICLE]:
Childcare providers and parents…we’re on the same team.
[AUTHOR’S NAME]‘s article on exercise, nutrition, and screen time standards in childcare settings gave me a glimpse into the caretaker’s point of view. It matches my own, as a parent.
State whether you’re in agreement or disagreement with the article, and then make a few key points to explain why.
As I read her article, I thought through the conversations I have with other parents—where we worry about the settings our children are in during the vital early childhood development period. We choose our childcare centers with thought to the ideal amount of active play time, the right snacks to help our babies grow well, and the amount of time they’ll be in front of a screen.
Include statistics and facts about the issue early on—this can help support your agreement or disagreement.
But we aren’t experts. We research and discuss, without the guarantee of state-wide standards that ensure our children have the best chance at healthy development.
This affects residents across [STATE], from all backgrounds. Many families have their children in childcare centers during the early years—a significant developmental stage before they get to school age where they join kindergarten classes. State-wide standards would ensure that every child, regardless of socioeconomic status, is receiving quality care and getting a chance at a healthy life, as defined by experts. And, as [AUTHOR’S NAME]‘s article discusses, these standards would allow care providers and parents to partner in providing the best chance for our children.
Include a solution to the problem, tying your cause to the article. In this case, early childcare education standards are one solution to help resolve the obesity problem in the U.S.
Our state leaders need to see that both parents and care providers need this and agree—solid standards to build on for the benefit or our kids. We need your voice, thoughts, and action. To learn how you can get involved and ensure Building Blocks for a Healthy Life™, check out [ORGANIZATION WEBSITE].
Be sure to sign your letter with your name, organization affiliation, or campaign name.