Letter to the Editor

What’s a great way to raise your voice about an issue on campus that won’t cost you, or your Action Team, a dime? A letter to the editor campaign! 

In an age dominated by Internet and instant news, your leaders still read local papers, especially when thinking through important decisions. Plus, they welcome fresh ideas from young people. Writing a letter to the local paper is an excellent platform for you to raise an issue. 

Through this project, your team will:

  • Inspire interest in climate change
  • Educate the community about solutions
  • Highlight actions that your community can take on to make a difference

PROJECT STEPS

STEP 1: Do your research: Letter to the Editor sections appear in almost every newspaper or media website. They serve as a forum for residents to voice their perspective on issues affecting their community. Letters are usually brief and make one clear point about a single issue while also telling a personal story. Before you get started, we recommend:

  • reading at least 3 Letter to the Editor submissions in local newspapers or websites to see what your community is talking about and how it’s done. 
  • checking out the guidelines for writing a letter to the publication(s) you choose. 
  • reading through this simple guide to writing Letters to the Editor on ehow.

STEP 2: Make a plan: Hold an Action Team meeting to: 

  • Set a goal for the number of letters you want your team to write.
  • Develop a timeline, detailing when letters will be written, edited and submitted
  • Assign roles. Who will:
    • get the contact information for the newspaper? Hint: Your point person at the newspaper will usually be the Opinions Editor.  
    • do the research?
    • write the letters?
    • act as the editor? 
  • Create a list of target media. Good candidates include your school newspaper, your community newspaper or a neighborhood blog.

STEP 3: Keep it timely: No one wants to read about what was in the news last week. Find out what’s hot by taking a look at the news: Is there any big climate news affecting your community? Floods? Forest fires? 

STEP 4: Write right: Get together with your letter-writing partners and discuss how you can make your message interesting and relevant to readers. Think about how you can tell your personal story and experience with climate change or passion for climate action. Each letter should be written by one person, but ask other Action Team members for feedback and edits. You can even ask your faculty sponsor for help.

STEP 5: Dot the i’s, cross the t’s: Make sure you follow the guidelines in your local paper or blog, as each one has different requirements for length and other format details. Run a spell-check and proofread one last time. Remember to include your contact info and be sure to note your school and class. Local media loves to showcase a young local voice.

STEP 6: Put a stamp on it: Mail or email them in. If your team wrote several Letters to the Editor to the same outlet, send each one in separately. If an outlet receives several letters on one subject, they‘re more likely to print at least one.

STEP 7: Tell ACE: Send your Letter to the Editor to us at hello@acespace.org. We just might feature your Letter to the Editor on our blog for students across the nation to see.