Writing Media Letters
Writing a letter to the editor is a great way to:
Correct a mistake, misquote or distortion in a recent news story.
Illuminate one or both sides of a controversy involving your profession.
Comment on how proposed regulations or policies may affect Northeastern.
There is no guarantee that your letter will be printed, but you’ll have a better chance of seeing it published if you follow these guidelines:
Write concisely, clearly and to-the-point. Newspapers commonly recommend a length of 200 words or less, which translates to about 20 lines of text. However, they often publish letters that are much longer, if they’re well written and well reasoned.
Try to discuss controversial issues as objectively as possible. Your own bias may be apparent, but it’s usually best to show respect for both sides of the issue. If you are responding to a published article, refer to the title, author, page number, and date of publication.
Be concise, informative and, when possible, personal at the same time. Keep your points short and clear, stick to one subject, and as a general rule try to keep your letters to fewer than five paragraphs in length. Make your first sentence short, compelling and catchy. Be direct, engaging and even controversial where the subject merits it.
Use facts and examples to support your argument or point of view. If you are correcting a reporting error, be good-natured about it. Don’t alienate the reporter or editor.
Sign your name. Letters to the editor are an excellent opportunity to let more people know not just about you, but about Northeastern. You should sign your letter to the editor with your affiliation to NEIU.
Op-eds, opinion/editorials, are articles which appear opposite the editorial page of local, state and national newspapers. Local citizens, experts and leaders of organizations write them. And they are extremely powerful and cost-effective way to educate a large number of people about issues. Here are some tips for submitting an op-ed piece:
|Timing is the most important factor in deciding to submit an op-ed. |
|Read op-eds before you begin writing so you see how they are styled.|
|Keep your text between 500-800 words.|
|Stay focused on an issue.|
|Begin with a short vignette illustrating how the issue affects an individual or group of people to drive home why the newspaper’s readers “need to know.”|
|Use local statistics.|
|Op-eds should provoke discussion, controversy and response. |