12 tips for letter writers
Even the ACLU knows you have no constitutional right to have a letter to the editor published in a newspaper or magazine.
But any responsible and customer-friendly publication -- i.e., one that wants to be fair and balanced and open to criticism and correction -- will encourage its readers to exercise their freedom of speech on its letters pages.
Ideally, a letters-page editor wants every missive he receives to be short, smart and perfectly written. And always 200 words or less. And timely, accurate, credible, rational, informative, funny, passionate, persuasive and entertaining.
Alas, the world is not perfect and not all letter writers are created equal.
So to improve the chances of seeing your two-cents' worth printed in your favorite opinion section, here -- from someone who has read, selected and edited roughly 10,000 letters to the editor from folks like Cher, Rick Santorum and Oren Spiegler -- is some free advice.
If you can't write one in your own words, please don't send it.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ford City High School class of 1951 offering scholarship
- Paddlers prepare for annual Armstrong sojourn in May
- Armstrong agency gets money to help needy in emergencies
- Penguins slip past Sharks, 3-2, in shootout
- Program details women’s work in Mon-Yough area mills during World War II
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Pirates’ outfield may have few defensive peers
- Hempfield infant fights rare disease
- Penguins notebook: Five defensemen dress against San Jose
- New Castle-area racino remains in limbo
- Players, casinos pan IRS idea to track more slot payouts