The keys to writing letters to the editor of newspapers or magazines that won't get edited are:
How to write letters to the editor that don't get edited
by John Pack
- Keep your letter short. And I mean VERY short. 150 words is a good upper limit. Editors want to print as many letters as possible and frequently need to trim letters to fit the space. In fact, long letters are often not printed at all.
- Keep paragraphs short (2-3 short sentences). Otherwise, for readability, the layout editor will change your paragraphs (often making letters less intelligible).
- Keep the reading level low. Use short, simple words and short sentences. Complex sentences cause readers to lose interest or to lose your train of thought.
- Focus your letter on one point. If everything in your letter drives at a single point, the loss of a paragraph to editorial license will injure your letter less. Furthermore, if you make one point in a short, concise letter, the chances of being edited at all drop substantially.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread. And then have someone else go over it. If your grammar or spelling are poor, readers (including the editor) automatically reduce their respect for your opinion. And, of course, the editor is more likely to make "innocent" changes.
- Sit on letters for at least a day. Then proofread again. Letters sent in the "heat of the moment" are usually much more poorly written. Plus you'll catch more of your own mistakes and be able to take advantage of any insights you come up with while the topic is on your mind.
04/05/02. John Pack is the secretary of the Salt Lake County LP in Utah. This essay reprinted from the Utah Libertarian. Copied from http://www.lp.org/lpnews/0204/pack.html