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USEFUL GUIDE TO WRITE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR It has often been said that the letters section is the second most frequently read part of the newspaper with the greatest readership on Sundays and the least on Saturdays. These letters can actually change minds and hearts, or at least, make people think and that’s always a good thing. Although it might be sometimes hard to find using an online version of a newspaper, somewhere on the website there is always an email address to send a letter to the editor. Here are 10 tips to get your letter published:
* Get to the point. The best letters are timely, straightforward and focused on a single issue.
* Shorter is better. Our standard limit for a letter is 200 words, but shorter is better. Occasionally, we publish longer letters from people who have been directly criticized in an editorial or news article.
* Bring it on. We look for letters from all points of view, especially those challenging our editorial positions. On any issue, the number of “pro” and “con” letters published generally reflects the proportions in which they are received. If the mail is running 2-to-1 in favor of, say, apple pie, then so will the letters we publish.
* Style matters. Write well. Wit and insight help a letter’s chances of publication. Because letters to the editor are often written in the heat of the moment, it’s always a good idea to go back and review what you’ve written. If you’re online and you hit the “Send” button and then have second thoughts, call us promptly to let us know you want to take it back.
* Editors edit. All letters — all letters — are subject to editing for fact, grammar, length, clarity and taste. It’s fair to criticize the ideas and arguments of others, but we don’t allow name-calling (such as “liar,” “racist,” “idiot”).
* We don’t publish form letters, open letters or poetry. We never publish unsigned letters or those signed with pseudonyms. It doesn’t help the chances of getting your letter printed if you begin with, “I know you’ll never have the guts to print this.”
* If we don’t select your letter for publication, please don’t take it personally. It usually means that we’ve gotten many other letters making similar points.
* To get as many different letter-writers into the mix as possible, no one will be published more than once every 60 days.
* If you are responding to a specific article, letter/editorial, include the date of its publication.
* Your letter must include your address & a day phone number. Only your name/city of residence -not your address- will be published. If we consider your letter, we will call you to verify your authorship & your willingness to see it in print.[ St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Ray Gunter, Letters Editor; N. Valko, RN]