Write a Letter to the Editor
A letter to the editor (LTE) is a great way to spread awareness about your issue. You can write letters to the editor of a local newspaper, online magazine, or blog as a way to share your opinion, along with facts about the cause and how to get involved in your campaign.
Similar to writing an op-ed, your LTE can be focused on more of an emotional experience with your cause, or it could be more straightforward and fact-based. Keep in mind the readership of the outlet you are sending your LTE to in order to help determine what kind of writing style is most appropriate for your piece. Also, keep in mind that your LTE could take a stance of agreement with or opposition to the original piece you are responding to.
We’ve included an example letter to the editor below, in response to a hypothetical article about a rise in global childhood obesity rates. Before we dive in, here are some key points to remember as you write your own letter:
- You can respond to any article that you feel relates to your cause as a hook to get the editor’s attention with your letter.
- Your LTE should be short and concise, up to 250 words max. Most publications have regulations around how long your letters can be, so you can check with the editor of the publication you’re submitting your letter to.
- Include your name and contact information (including phone number) when you submit your letter. The publication will often call to verify that you truly submitted it.
- Create a title that offers a preview of your subject matter and also attracts the attention of your audience.
- Talk about the issue from your perspective. Why is this important to you? Why do you think it would be important to people in your community?
Ex. PE to help decrease child obesity in America
Make sure to include the author’s name, title, and date of the article, so that people can go back and read the original piece.
Regarding [AUTHOR’S NAME]’s article, [TITLE AND DATE OF ARTICLE]:
Include statistics and facts about the issue early on—this can help support your agreement or disagreement.
Families in large cities and small towns alike have come to rely on restaurants as a way to help save time in increasingly busy schedules. Families are now spending more of their food budget on ready to eat meals than they are on groceries. In fact, today’s kids get about 25 percent of their daily calories from fast food and other restaurants. At the same time, kids are developing food preferences and long-term dietary habits, and restaurants are aggressively promoting to kids’ meals that are high in calories, sugar, fats, and salt and contain few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Today, one-third of children are at an increased risk of developing chronic, life-threatening diseases, such as type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
State whether you’re in agreement or disagreement with the article, and then make a few key points to explain why.
This is a preventable epidemic, and while many factors are at play, eating out is linked to eating more calories, poorer diets, and obesity.
Include a solution to the problem, tying your cause to the article. In this case, healthy kids’ meals are one solution to help resolve the obesity problem in the U.S.
It’s time we ask restaurants to serve kids better™ and help create environments where children can grow up at a healthy weight by improving the nutritional quality of their kids’ meals.
By ensuring that the foods they promote and serve to children are nutritious, restaurants can support parents’ efforts to cultivate healthy food preferences and behaviors in their children.
Don’t forget to include a link to action, your organization’s website, or another site you want audiences to visit! This is how you convert readers into advocates for your cause.
Find out how you can improve healthy options for our kids at local restaurants in your town by visiting www.voicesforhealthykids.org/KidsMeals.
Be sure to sign your letter with your name, organization affiliation, or campaign name.
[ORGANIZATION LEADER OR MAIN POINT OF CONTACT]