Letter to the Editor Tips

Write Letters to the Editor

One of Many Things You Can Do To:

–Demand Protection for Clean Water and Clean Air
–Demand Changes that Slow Climate Change
–Build Support for Renewable Energy
–Build Support for a Just Transition to a Clean Energy Economy
–End White Supremacy and Structural Racism 
–Help Build Opposition to:
      Mountaintop Removal
      Deep Shale Gas Fracking / Waste Disposal
      High-Pressure Pipelines
      The proposed Appalachian (Ethane) Storage Hub 

If you want to help build a better future, free of fossil fuel oppression, show it – write a letter to the editor, no matter where you live! Letters to the editor are hugely important in showing the broad spectrum of people opposed to mountaintop removal and fracking. Your letters encourage others to take a stand, too. 

You can send your letters to your local paper, or to any paper, anywhere. Mountaintop removal and fracking are a national issue–even international. These are two of many examples of the extreme toll of our over-reliance on fossil fuel…it’s the front end of global climate change.

See the sidebar for links to individual newspapers guidelines on submitting letters-to-the-editor. Please try to make your words original and thoughtful –newspapers don’t like and usually won’t print form letters and the like. You want your letter to be effective, maybe run the letter by someone else or let it sit a bit, then reread and rewrite if needed, before hitting click and send.

Don’t know what to write? Your own experience is most relevant. How do mountaintop removal or fracking activities affect you? Why do you think it is wrong? (Here are some talking points on mountaintop removal to help with your letter to the editor.) Pick a point and expand upon it. Explore our website for more ideas. For instance, read what directly impacted folks have to save about mountaintop removal on this page and many other spots on our website. Check out our photo galleries, too.

OVEC volunteer Mary Wildfire compiled these tips on writing your letter:
–Most newspapers have a word limit on letters, often 200 or 300 words.  Papers do edit your letter.

–Many newspapers also have limits to how often they will print letters from a particular person. You may want to send your letter to a different paper if your first choice just printed something from you.

–If the letter is in response to something that ran in the paper, mention the date and title at the start.

–Don’t engage in name-calling, profanity, personal attacks, or falsehoods. Leave that to the other side.

–You need to include your daytime phone number and usually your address as well. Most papers will not print any of this, but they will call to make sure you really sent the letter.

–Check spelling, punctuation, grammar; if youre not good at this, ask someone to read over your letter before you submit it.

–Some papers insist that you send your letter exclusively to themcheck the newspaper’s letter-to-the-editor guidelines before sending in your letter. See the links at left.

–As with any writing, specifics and images are more effective than vague abstractions.

–Remember that a letter published in your local or regional paper will influence your representatives as well; they know their constituents are reading this.