Writing a Letter to the Editor

Use your voice! Help others get behind Harm Reduction!

There is a lot being written about the overdose epidemic, but often news stories follow a narrative that doesn’t include perspectives of people who have been directly impacted. Unlike news stories, letters to the editor and op-eds work to persuade people to think differently. It is an easy way to reach a large audience and create a community discussion, bring up information not being addressed in the news cycle and prevent our issues from disappearing from the public eye.

The ACLU recommends the following tips for writing to make most impact:

  • Keep it short and address only one subject. Many newspapers have strict limits on the length of letters and have limited space to publish them. Keeping your letter brief will help assure that your important points are not cut out by the newspaper.
  • Make it legible. Use a typewriter or computer if your handwriting is difficult to read.
  • Send letters to weekly community newspapers. The smaller the newspaper’s circulation, the easier it is to get your letter printed.
  • Be sure to include your contact information.
  • Make references to previous articles in the newspaper. While some papers print general commentary, many will only print letters that refer to a specific article.

If you want to write a letter or op-ed but are unsure of where to start, feel free to email Sarah at sfynmore@spwaz.org.