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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cleveland.com (The Plain Dealer, Sun News Editor)
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).
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.