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Monday, December 19, 2005

How to write a letter to the Editor

From Human Rights CampaignTips for writing a letter

The letters to the editor section of your local paper is an ideal forum for sharing your opinion and story with the local community. In addition, it is one of the first pages many elected officials turn to. Letters to the editor show that an issue is of concern to the community and are excellent tools for education. Here are a few guidelines for getting your letter to the editor printed.

Localize your letter -- explain how marriage equality will affect you or people you know in your community. Include examples of discrimination you or others have faced as a result of discriminatory marriage laws.
Make your letter timely - if the newspaper has recently printed a story or column about the issue of marriage and same-sex couples, you can reference the article and use it as a springboard for your letter.
Keep your letter short and to the point -- 250 words maximum.
Your letter should carry its most important message in the first paragraph.
Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Editors like to call to confirm that the letter was actually written by the person whose name appears on the letter.
Limit the number of points you make, and stay on the same subject.
Don't be disappointed if your letter does not get printed. Newspapers get many letters every day and can't print all of them. Most papers won't print the same writers over and over again. Therefore, if you have had a letter published recently, try to get a friend or co-worker to sign the next one.

Don't be afraid to ask for action -- tell readers what you want them to do. This includes your elected representatives; you can be sure they read the letters to the editor.

HRC's field team is ready and willing to proofread your letter and to offer feedback and comments. You can e-mail a draft of your letter to HRC's field organizers - just click here to look up field organizers in your region. Be sure to include the name and state of the newspaper that you are planning to submit the letter to.

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2. Find local newspapers in your area

Just click here to search for local newspapers in your area. It is a good idea to confirm with the newspaper directly at what e-mail or snail mail address they accept letters.


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