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Letters to the Editor “If we want our children to grow up to become thoughtful and involved members of society, we want them to ask questions, carefully consider alternatives and choose wisely… so they can better understand their own positions on confusing and controversial issues.” -Heather Lattimer, author
What is a letter to the editor? • The purpose of a letter to the editor is to express your individual views about a current issue. • Letters to the editor are published in nearly all magazines and newspapers. • Anybody can write a letter to the editor; generally, they are individuals who are passionate about a specific current issues.
Features of a letter to the editor An expression of opinion on a current subject or issue. A persuasive text, with the aim to express views to a wider public. A written way of talking to readers of a regularly printed publication (newspaper, magazine, periodical) Are often responses to articles from the particular publication or to other letters to the editor.
Features of a letter to the editor • Effective ones rely on fact as well as opinion. • Can be for or against an issue, or simply to inform or raise awareness • Usually found in the first section of the publication or on the “editorial page” • Usually less than 300 words • Begins with a salutation: 'To the Editor of (the publication name)…' • Includes a closing: the writer’s full name and brief description (town, school, neighborhood, etc.)
Why write a letter to the editor? You're angry about something and want others to know An issue is so important that you must speak out To persuade others to take a specific action To suggest an idea to others To influence public opinion To educate the public To influence policymakers, leaders, “people in charge”
“Editorial” Word Wall Words • Bias- prejudice, a mental preference towards one side • Angle – a point of view or one’s “position” on an issue • Slant- a personal viewpoint, perspective • Compare- to examine and note the similarities and differences • Contrast – to compare in terms of “difference” • Editorial – a publication (newspaper or magazine article) that gives the opinions of the editors/publishers
“Editorial” Word Wall Words • Evidence – proof, support based on fact, statistics, truth • Current Events – issues, topics that are relevant at the present time • Journalism – writing, editing, and reporting of the news, current events • Periodical – a publication ( magazine, journal, etc.) that is issued at regular, recurring periods.
When should you write one? Any time you want to: • Shape public opinion • Tell others how you feel about something • Inform the public on an issue • Start a community conversation about an issue
How do you write a letter to the editor? Open with a simple salutation Grab the reader's attention Explain what the letter is about at the start Explain why the issue is important Give evidence for any praise or criticism
How do you write a letter to the editor? (cont.) State your opinion about what should be done Keep it brief Sign the letter. Check your letter to make sure it's clear and to the point
How do you get your letters accepted? Keep it under 300 words Keep most important points in the first paragraph Refer to something recent & relevant in the community Use local statistics and personal stories Include your title as well as your name Include your phone number If it's not accepted the first time around, try again