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Letters to the editor can be a powerful way to educate the community on important issues, particularly when sent as part of a strategic campaign. Below are a few general suggestions for writing effective letters to the editor.
- Keep letters as brief as possible. A short letter, fewer than 200 words, is less likely to be edited and more likely to be read.
- Always include your full name, address and daytime telephone number for confirmation purposes.
- Submit your letter at least 3-5 days in advance of when you hope to have the letter appear. Be aware that most papers have a policy regarding frequency of submission, usually no more than one letter per month.
Links to Arizona Newspapers:
Send your letter by clicking on the links below or cut and paste the e-mail address into the "To" portion of a new e-mail. If you don't hear from the newspaper within a few days, call the phone number provided to confirm receipt of your letter.
|The Arizona Republic||Submit online||(602) 444-8000
|Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)||E-mail a letter||(800) 695-4492|
|East Valley Tribune (Mesa)||Submit online||(480) 874-2863|
|Daily News-Sun (West Valley cities)||Submit online||(623) 977-8351|
|Yuma Sun||Submit online||(928) 783-3333|
|The Daily Courier (Prescott)||Submit online||(928) 445-3333|
|Arizona Daily Sun (Flagstaff)||Submit online||(928) 774-4545|
Tips for Writing Letters to the Editor:
Letters to the editor are great advocacy tools. After you write letters to your elected officials, sending letters to the editor can achieve other advocacy goals because they:
- Reach a large audience
- Are often monitored by elected officials
- Can bring up information not addressed in a news article
- Create an impression of widespread support for or in opposition to an issue
Keep letters short and on one subject. Many newspapers have strict limit on the length of letters and have limited space to publish them. Keeping your letter brief will help assure that your important points are not cut out by the newspaper. Readers naturally gravitate toward shorter letters, as well.
Short, heartfelt statements are often more powerful than lengthy legal arguments. Keep in mind that newspaper readers have varying levels of education and experience your letter must make sense to a wide range of people in order to be effective. If you have personal experience related to the issue you’re writing about, consider including it. Personal testimonies are very effective.
If not submitting letters via e-mail, make sure your letter is legible. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you should use a typewriter or word processor if your handwriting is difficult to read.
Send letters to weekly community newspapers, too. The smaller the newspaper’s circulation, the easier it is to get your letter printed.
Be sure to include your contact information. Many newspapers will only print a letter to the editor after calling the author to verify his or her identity and address. Newspapers will not give out that information, and will usually only print your name and city should your letter be published.
Make references to the newspaper. While some papers print general commentary, many will only print letters that refer to a specific article. Here are some examples of easy ways to refer to articles in your opening sentence:
- I was disappointed to that The Post’s May 18 editorial, “School Vouchers are Right On” omitted some of the key facts in the debate.
- I strongly disagree with [author’s name] narrow view on women’s reproductive rights. [“Name of Op Ed,” date]
- I was pleased to see your article [“Title of Article,” date] regarding Brighton Township’s unfair restriction of political lawn signs and free speech.
Get the most from your letter by replying to dissenting views. Although many newspapers limit submissions to a certain number per person, most will allow letter writers to respond to criticism of their original letter. Take the opportunity to spread your message further by submitting a short response.