1. Look for any rules printed in the magazine or newspaper you plan to write to. Usually you will find these at the end of the Letters column. If you can’t find what you need, call the newspaper on the phone and ask if there are any special instructions.
2. If your project or concern is school related, you might want to use school stationery. This will make your letter look more important.
3. Try to type or word-process your letter. If you can’t do this, you can hand write your letter. Make sure that it is neat and readable. Double-space your letter to make it easier to read.
4. Include your return address and signature. Editors usually won’t print anonymous letters.
5. Begin your letter:
To the Editor:
End your letter:
(your name typed or printed)
(your grade, school, or organization)
6. Your letter should be brief and clear. It should not be mushy or difficult. Don’t repeat yourself. Your letter does not need to be long. Do not use slang.
7. Your concern should be something that is of current interest, or could quickly become of interest to others.
8. Never accuse anyone of anything without proof, and never write anything libelous (something that can make someone look bad unfairly), that could get you into trouble! You want to solve problems, not create them!
9. If you are writing because you think that something should be done, give a few reasons why!
10. Never send an “open letter,” addressed to some public official, to a newspaper or a magazine. It will end up in the editor’s trash.
11. Don’t send the same letter to more than one newspaper. The editor would like your work to be original!
12. Proofread your letter for mistakes before sending it. But even if your letter isn’t perfect, the editor will make any needed corrections. You should also know that letters to the editor are often shortened to fit the space in the newspaper. Don’t be surprised or upset if this happens to yours.