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Why write a letter to the editor (LTE)?

  • The Opinion section is one of the most-read in print and online.
  • Thought leaders including politicians, reporters, and the editorial board of the newspaper read these.
  • The more people write about any one topic, the more space that opinion will receive in the newspaper. So even if your LTE is not printed, when you write one you give a similar LTE a better chance of being printed online and in print.
1) Reference a specific article that ran in that newspaper.

Here's an example:

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/sd-planned-parenthood-trump-abortions-utak-20180526-story.html

Notice that the writer includes the title of the article she is referencing and the date it was published.

2) Establish your expertise.

Remember, you’re an expert if you are a:

  • Planned Parenthood patient
  • Planned Parenthood health care provider

  • Health care provider

  • Mother of daughters or sons or both

  • Person who lives in the area your newspaper covers

  • Member of the LGBTQ community

  • Voter

  • Latina, African American, Asian American, or another ethnicity or race

  • Young person

  • Person who saw the effects on women pre-Roe v Wade

  • Woman

  • Feminist

Examples of first lines:

I have been going to Planned Parenthood for three years, and I know how important this organization is for millions of people in this country.

As a woman who burned her bra in 1968, I can’t believe that I have to fight for women’s health care 50 years later.

As a mother of two young daughters, I have to stand up for women’s rights.

As a recent SDSU graduate, I know how important reproductive health care access is to young women.

Note how Miranda Martinez-Moad calls out her expertise as a young woman, aspiring health care provider, UCR graduate, and Mexican-American in this terrific letter to the editor: 

https://www.pe.com/2017/09/19/sheriff-sniff-fights-for-us-letters/

3) Be Timely.

You read and react to an article on Wednesday; write a LTE on Wednesday. The faster the better.

5) Call the reader to action.

If you want people to call their senator and tell them to protect Planned Parenthood’s funding, say so. Want Trump to stop attacking women’s health care? Say so! Check out this letter:

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/readersreact/la-ol-le-trump-planned-parenthood-abortion-20180524-story.html

Ready to write? Here are the rules:

San Diego Union-Tribune

Fill out this online form with no more than 150 words:

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/sd-submit-a-letter-to-the-editor-story.html

Riverside Press-Enterprise

Send under 200 words to [email protected]. Provide your name, city, and telephone number (telephone numbers will not be published).

Palm Springs Desert Sun

Send under 200 words to [email protected]. Include writer’s full name, address, city, ZIP code, and daytime phone number for verification. Only name and city will be printed.

Imperial Valley Press

Submit no more than 350 words to this form:

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/sd-submit-a-letter-to-the-editor-story.html

Download a PDF file of our LTE guide
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