|Contacting the Media
Letters to the Editor
Other than the front page, the letters to the editor section is the
most read part of your local newspaper. Members of Congress pay close
attention to letters, particularly
if their names are mentioned. When you write your letter to the editor, keep in mind
the following suggestions:
- Keep your letter short. 250 words is the recommended length
for most publications. Periodicals have a limited space and often
receive more letters than they
can possibly publish. If there is less editing for the editor it is more
likely your letter will appear.
- Get to the point. Letters should
always state the specific issue, and what action should be taken.
Include the name and/or number of the bill you are commenting on.
Mention the name of your Senator/Representative and what action you
would like them to take.
- Write in simple language. Many newspapers have the motto "the
readers of this newspaper move their lips as they read". They are
looking for letters that are
understandable by a variety of educational levels and writing an
intelligible letter need not be complicated. Do not be afraid to address
sophisticated subjects, just remember a "ball is a ball as well as a
- Be sure to be credible. If you use a statistic, cite your
resource. Check the number of your bill through the representatives
office or call the Senate and House Bill Status number (202) 225-1772 to
see if the number has changed.
- Be Timely. Periodicals that are published on a daily basis
such as newspapers treat news as new for only a short time. Editorials
will be printed if they are current and reflect what will be happening
in the near future.
- Sign your letter. Newspapers will not publish your letter
without a signature, although you may request that your name be kept
anonymous. In considering this option remember that letters that are
anonymous are often not considered credible. Include in your signature
your residence and/ or voting district as well.
- Send a copy of your letter to the Lutheran Office for Governmental
Affairs (LOGA) office. We
will use your letter as a resource to encourage others to write. We will
also be able to note in our discussions which government officials
support the position of the ELCA.
- Send a copy of your letter to your Congressional
Representative and Senators. They will appreciate knowing you
have contacted your local media. Persons in Congress follow closely what
is in their local media and will appreciate staying informed.