How To Write An Effective Letter To The Editor (LTE) And/Or Op-Ed

If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” Blaise Pascal

  • 200-300 for an LTE
  • 500-600 words for an Op-Ed
  • Mantra: EPIC [Engage (hook), Problem (why should we care), Inform on the solution, Call for Action]
  • Don’t bury the lede. Put your main point in the first sentence.
    • But hook them with a tie into a recent LTE/Op-Ed/Editorial/article, personal story, current event, pop culture reference, or counter-intuitive point [Slate Pitch].
  • Body: Include a fact or two
    • a one sentence summary of what the opposition’s point is
      • “critics say…”
    • then knock it down: Support your point with a paragraph of evidence (e.g., statistics, studies by experts not affiliated with your organization, lessons of history, examples of how other countries handle the same problem, personal stories, etc.).
      • “Recent studies find…”
    • Conclusion: Call to action “Join me in calling our congressional delegation in supporting X”

Tips courtesy of RESULTS