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How to Write a Letter to your Editor


How to Write a Letter to your Editor:

1- Locate your local news outlet.

This includes all newspapers, newsletters, radio shows and television stations in your area.

2- Find out how the news source accepts submissions.

• Is it better to email the letters or mail them?

• For radio and television, is there a specific program to submit your opinion to? Is there a call-in show where you can voice your opinion?

3- Get a contact.

• A newspaper’s public editor, also sometimes called the opinions editor, is the person who accepts letters to the editor.

• When you send your letter, make sure it is marked to the attention of this editor. Most news outlets have instructions on their website, if so, follow those directions.

4- Choose a sub-topic.

• Pick a point or two to focus on. Not every issue relating to the Downing Street Memo can be discussed in each letter. You can coordinate and divide topics up amongst your friends to insure that all aspects of the issue are covered.

Suggested Topics:

-Hearings held by members of Congress.

What did members say that are important for the public to know? What were you surprised by? What do you want more information about? What do you think the next steps should be?

-Discuss a specific document or speech.

Pick a quote or section of a document you have strong opinions about. What was said and how did that shape your opinion of the war? Would your opinion of the war have changed if this information was presented earlier?

-The Downing Street Minutes.

Why is this document not a moot point now that the war has begun? What should we take from this memo for the future? What questions does the memo raise that you want answered?

-Call for an investigation.

What type of attention do you believe this issue should receive? Urge people to get involved and pressure the government to conduct an investigation. Ask congressmen to conduct hearings on the issue.

-Ask for more prominent and consistent press coverage.

Why is this issue not on the front page of the newspaper? Why aren’t reporters questioning the Bush administration further?

-Past articles about Downing Street run in your paper and in others.

What did you agree/disagree with in the article? What points are important to add to the discussion? What issues aren’t being discussed that deserve more attention?

5- Write your letter.

• When writing a letter, make sure it is clear and succinct.

• Try to keep submissions no more than 300 words.

• Have a friend proofread your letter. Incorrect grammar and spelling errors can detract from the message.

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