Letters to Editors and Op-Eds

Opinion sections are among the most read sections in the newspaper - they are a great way to educate the public, and legislators often read the Opinion section to get a sense of what their constituents are passionate about.

How to write LTEs and op-eds

Newspapers publish Letters to the Editor (LTEs) and Opposite the Editorial (Op-Ed) pieces as a space for public debate on opinions or to discuss issues missed by the regular news. They should be written with a clear opinion to be chosen by the editor of the paper. Opinion sections are among the most read sections in the newspaper - they are a great way to educate the public, and legislators often read the Opinion section to get a sense of what their constituents are passionate about.

Tips for Writing Letters to the Editor

  • Before you begin writing

  • Pay attention to submission requirements (word length, how to submit). Letters to the editor (LTEs) are typically short pieces (< 300 words), in contrast with opinion pieces (op-eds) which may be longer (800-1200 words). We've linked information below to some of the biggest papers in the state.

  • The Akron Beacon Journal (email vop@thebeaconjournal.com)

  • The Cincinnati Enquirer

  • Cleveland.com (The Plain Dealer, Sun News Editor)

  • The Columbus Dispatch

  • Dayton Daily News

  • The Toledo Blade

  • Read other Op-Eds/LTEs in that newspaper to get a sense of the criteria they use.

  • If you have a relationship, call or discuss the opinion piece with the editor before submitting. For example, sometimes editors feel a story or particular angle has been exhausted and may indicate the need for a fresh angle. Relationships are easier to establish with local or community papers.

  • How to write a letter to the editor/op-ed

  • Connect it with something that is already happening in the news. Reference a former article that the newspaper wrote, or an event that happened in the community. Then link it to what you want to talk about.

  • Order makes a difference: Keep the more important part of your message at the top. Sometimes editors may cut out the last part of your letter.

  • Be concise and efficient with your words: Make sure every sentence has its own purpose.

  • Stay on one message and don’t use jargon: Make sure you know your message, what you want to say, and use clear and simple language—short words and sentences go a long way!

  • If you have a strong personal story, include it (a compelling human story goes a long way to hook editors and readers).

  • Proofread!

  • Make sure you include your name, city and contact information.

  • It is best to submit your piece via email, either in the body of your email or as an attachment.