Writing Letters to the Editor and Op-Eds

While writing or calling your elected official about an issue can be an effective way of communicating your position, there are other ways to develop support for your issue. One way is to send a message for the “letters to the editor” section of your local newspaper. Another way is to write an article for the newspaper’s opinion page, called an “op-ed." Op-eds typically appear on the page facing the newspaper’s own editorials.

Your letter should be considered a conversation not only with fellow readers, but with the newspaper itself. Don’t write a letter out of the blue on a topic that is unfamiliar to the masses. Your letter should be in response to an article or editorial, and your letter should mention this specifically (makes job of "editing" and fact-checking your letter easier, and thus more likely to get published.)

These guidelines are not meant to be viewed as universal, because all papers have different rules, but they are good protocols to keep in mind.