Have a strong feeling about something you read? Write a letter to the editor. Letters exist to provide a forum for public comment or debate. A letter to the editor is meant to express your opinion or point of view about an article you have read from a news organization or website.
How to send StudentNewsDaily a Letter to the Editor:
Include: your full name, school name & state, the headline & date of the article on which you are commenting
Letters may be edited for length, grammar and accuracy. (See additional guidelines below.)
To send a letter to the editor of any online news organization, the email address for the Letters Editor can generally be found under “Contact Us” at the bottom of the home page.
GUIDELINES FOR LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
- Be TIMELY: Write your letter within a day of the article’s date. (Letters to StudentNewsDaily will be accepted up to 10 days after posting date.)
- INCLUDE CONTACT INFORMATION: Include your full name, city, state, phone # (many news organizations will call you to verify you really wrote the letter – most will not print anonymous letters).
- BE CLEAR: Make one main point.
- BE CONCISE: 1- 3 paragraphs, 50-150 words. Short letters show confidence in your position.
- BE ACCURATE: Letters that are factually inaccurate are not printed.
- BE INTERESTING: Get your reader’s attention and keep it to the end of your letter. Open with an interesting fact or strong statement and keep your points as interesting as possible.
- AVOID PERSONAL ATTACKS: Show respect for the opposite opinion. Being rude may cause people to disagree with you on principle.
- PROOFREAD: Re-read your letter. Check for grammar and spelling mistakes. If possible, ask another person to read your letter for accuracy and clarity.
- DON’T WORRY IF YOUR LETTER IS NOT PRINTED: Even if it is well-written, it might not be printed if it addresses the same issue as letters already printed.
In your email, use the following format:
To the Editor: (If writing directly to the writer, substitute Dear Mr./Ms. ___)
Re: “headline” and date of article
Your full name
Your phone # (Only if requested by news organization)
Read several letters from the site you are writing to for an idea of the types of letters that the editors print.
Sample letter from The Denver Post:
Re: “Proposed Colorado marijuana edibles ban shows lingering pot discord”
It seems hard to believe that many forms of edible marijuana are made to look like candy and treats that children often eat, yet the public is supposed to believe that the marijuana industry isn’t marketing to the youth. It has been reported that nine children have been treated at local hospitals after ingesting marijuana edibles. Further, one college student jumped off of a balcony after eating a cookie that contained marijuana. Now, parents are being warned more than ever before to check their children’s Halloween candy, suggesting that if they see anything that looks unfamiliar or strange, it could be a form of edible marijuana and should be thrown out. For these reasons and for the health and safety of all youth in Colorado, banning edible marijuana seems like the clear choice.
MC, Lakewood, CO
Sample letter from the Miami Herald:
If minimum wage goes up, I lose my job
I am a retired senior who works part time on a local golf course as a “starter.”
I am paid the minimum wage of about $8-an-hour. It is not enough to support a growing family or put kids through college, but I’ve already done that, and this is simply a nice augmentation to my Social Security.
If the minimum wage is raised to $15, I will lose my job; not because my bosses are cruel, mean or cheap, but simply because there is no way they can double my wage without losing money or doubling our customers’ fees.
Without a “starter” maintaining order on the course, our customers’ golf experience will also suffer. We will all be losers. At the same time, I have grandchildren who hope to get a part-time job in the school vacations.
Having a job at $3, $5, $8 or any amount per hour will teach them so many valuable lessons; the value of money, responsibility, punctuality, self-worth and pride. But nobody is going to pay my grandkids $15-per-hour. They are not yet worth it, just as I am probably no longer worth it.
And between old timers like me looking for a bit of pocket money and social interaction, and young kids looking for a learning experience — there is a vast pool of potential taxpayers: new immigrants, college leavers, people just out of jail who just need a toehold in society, an entry into the world of honest work, where they can prove their value and soon be earning $15 because they have shown they are worth it. But if the starting salary is $15, who will take the risk with an unknown, untrained worker — possible ex-felon?
Apparently the national economy is strong, and unemployment is low. That means we have a competitive job market, and employers are all competing for good quality workers. A good, hard-working employee should have no problem proving himself or herself worthy of $15 or more, without the need of yet another government regulation.
In the meantime, I would rather have my $8-an-hour job than find myself unemployed — in addition to being old.
Coral Gables, FL
Sample letters from Chicago Tribune:
Re: “Surprised by Chicago Teachers Union’s Venezuela visit? Then you haven’t been paying attention.,” Aug. 20, 2019:
I read with interest the Kristen McQueary column (“Surprised by CTU’s Venezuela visit? Then you haven’t been paying attention.,” Aug. 20, 2019) about four Chicago public teachers’ visit to Venezuela. They returned with glowing reports of the living conditions. I wonder if they brought their own toilet paper.
— Stan Wojewski, Wonder Lake
When Sarah Chambers of the Chicago Teachers Union tweeted that she didn’t see a single homeless person while in Venezuela, she displayed political myopia or dumbfounding naivete — take your pick. There are of course thousands of readily available vacant homes in Venezuela; no need to sleep outdoors. That is because millions of Venezuelans have voted with their feet and left the corrupt socialist paradise, including many who have come to, yes, terrible America — and even worse, terrible Chicago.
As a result, finding a place to rest your head is not difficult in much of Venezuela today. Now getting electricity for the place you live in, that’s a serious ongoing problem. And assuming you have electricity, finding food to put on your table is another serious ongoing problem that seems to get worse in Venezuela by the month. Add to that, monumental levels of crime and theft, and there you have Venezuela today. But no homeless. Wow.
— Neil Gaffney, Chicago
As a retired teacher and principal, I’m outraged that this trip to Venezuela was taken under the guise of representing the Chicago Teachers Union and of being educational. I’m shocked at the nerve of these travelers. Kudos to the teachers who exposed this travesty. This needs more than an apology but a thorough investigation of just how this occurred and what other trips have been taken, where and why, representing CTU.
— Mary Scannell, Palos Heights
NOTE ON POSTING COMMENTS (vs. writing a letter to the editor):
- Online editions of many newspapers, in addition to inviting readers to write “letters to the editor,” also allow readers to post comments directly below articles.
- News websites that only have an online presence (e.g., YahooNews) generally don’t include a “Letters to the Editor” section. Instead, most allow readers to sign up to post comments directly below the article.
- People are for the most part permitted to comment anonymously.
- “Comments” differ from “letters to the editor” in that there are no specific guidelines, except to refrain from profanity, and the stipulation that inappropriate reader comments will most likely be removed by the website administrator.
- Some comments do not appear to be well-thought out arguments, but rather revert to the use of rude or inflammatory language (insults and name-calling) to express opinions about a topic.
STUDENTS: Remember when posting any comments online in any form — if you are not sure if you should post it, DON’T POST IT.