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: Health should always be an option in our stores
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]:
Include statistics and facts about the issue early on—this can help support your agreement or disagreement.
Each week, grocery shopping in 20% of households in America is harder than it needs to be. That’s because people in these communities—almost 30 million across the country—lack access to grocery stores and the healthy produce, lean proteins, and whole grains that come along with them.
Whether they’re in big cities or small towns, these families are forced to rely on understocked convenience stores or take inconvenient, hours-long trips to buy the food that keeps us all healthy.
State whether you’re in agreement or disagreement with the article, and then make a few key points to explain why.
I agree with [AUTHOR’S NAME]’s take, though, there is hope. Healthy food financing programs can help change all that. These critical loan and grant financing programs help healthy food retailers overcome the barriers to entry into low-income and underserved communities—barriers like land acquisition financing, construction, and workforce development.
Don’t forget to include a link to action, your organization’s website, or another site you want audiences to visit! This is how you convert readers into advocates for your cause.
They also ensure that stores are carrying foods that improve public health, encourage proper nutrition, and promote a healthy diet. It’s time we start asking what’s in store for us™ whenever we head out on grocery shopping trips. Take action today by visiting www.voicesforhealthykids.org/HealthyFoodAccess.
Word Count: 176
Be sure to sign your letter with your name, organization affiliation, or campaign name.
[ORGANIZATION LEADER OR MAIN POINT OF CONTACT]