Sending letters to THE media
Here are some tips about sending letters to (local, national or international) newspapers and other news
Most media prefer to receive letters by email, either using an ordinary
email address or an on-line form. For editors, copying and pasting text from
an email is quicker and more accurate than re-keying a hard-copy letter.
Send the letter as plain text in the body of the email, not as an attachment
and not using HTML. Media
don't like attachments because they can contain viruses.
Most media prefer letters to be 350 words or shorter. If you keep to that
limit, your letters are more likely to be published and less likely to be
spoiled by clumsy editing. Some newspapers only publish very short letters
so have a look at their letters page to see the kind of thing they will
Mark the letter clearly as 'LETTER FOR PUBLICATION' in the subject of the
email and perhaps also at the top of the text.
- Give a title for your letter.
Give your name, phone number, email address and postal address. Most
newspapers will not publish letters without that information but if the topic
is 'sensitive', they may be willing to publish the letter with "Name and
address supplied" at the bottom.
If you are responding to something that has already been published, try to do
it reasonably soon, ideally within a week, but you do not need to do it in a
great rush. Most weekly newspapers will wait for two weeks or even three
before publishing replies to previous letters. Probably, they are aware that
it takes time to compose a reply and not everyone uses email.
Avoid any kind of personal abuse or smear remarks. If the opposition are
saying foolish things, this should become clear from the force of your
Try to avoid mere expressions of opinion. Back up your arguments with facts,
with logic and with references to sources that have 'authority'.
Try to include interesting new information that would not be generally known
Here is a framework for a letter
LETTER FOR PUBLICATION
[TITLE OF LETTER]
[Text of letter]
[Your full contact details: postal address, email address, phone number, website (if any)]