Letters to the Editor
Writing a letter to the editor is a great way to raise awareness of an important issue, or to call attention to what our elected officials are doing–good or bad.
If you’ve never written a letter to the editor, here’s a quick guide to get you started. You may be surprised how easy it is to get your name in print!
Choosing a Topic
- The most important “rule” for writing a letter to the editor is to choose a topic you feel strongly about. Authentic-sounding letters on recent events are the most likely ones to be published.
- If you want to support a Democratic candidate for office, explain why you think he or she is the right person for the job. You can often find points to support your argument by reading both the Democratic and Republican candidates’ recent press releases and social media posts.
- If you want to express your opinion on a particular political issue, look for a recent event or newspaper article related to the issue, and mention it in your letter.
Writing an Effective Letter
- Pick the one idea that you feel is most important, and focus your letter on getting that idea across. Letters that jump between topics are less effective and less likely to be published.
- Keep your sentences short and direct. This makes it less likely that your letter will be edited heavily before publication.
- Be sure to follow the newspaper’s guidelines for length—200 to 300 words is a good target.
Amplify Your Message!
When a paper publishes one of your letters, be sure to share the link on social media. Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms can dramatically increase the number of people who see your letter. You can also help by sharing and liking other letters that you see posted on social media.
Newspaper Submission Guidelines
Daily Herald: Submit letters to the editor via email to email@example.com. Letters must be under 300 words and include your name, city, state, and phone number.
Elgin Courier-News (Tribune suburban edition): Submit letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters must be under 250 words and include your name, city, state, and phone number.
Kane County Chronicle: Submit letters to the editor online here. Letters must be under 400 words and include your name, city, state, and phone number.
Northwest Herald: Submit letters to the editor online here or via email to email@example.com. Letters must be under 350 words and include your name, address, and phone number.