How to write a Letter to the Editor

How many times have you read a newspaper or magazine article and then articulated a strong personal opinion to a friend or colleague? Take the time to write it down and send a letter to the publication. Yours is often a valuable position and one that may reflect the opinions of other readers. If published, your viewpoint has the potential to effect the result or change that you seek. The following shows you how to structure and format this type of correspondence.

Your Name

Street Address

City, State ZIP

Phone Number


Letter to the Editor

Publication Name


City and Zip

Dear Mr./Ms.

Let the world know what you are thinking and increase your chance of publication by composing a clear, concise, well-argued letter. Editors receive scores of them daily but have limited space. A successful letter includes an introduction of the topic, focused arguments with supporting facts, and a conclusion.

When selecting a topic, narrow it to one main point and introduce it in the first paragraph. If you are responding to a previously published article or letter, identify it and briefly state its position. Be positive and do not personally attack its author or other individuals, or use profanity.

Keep your letter short and concise. Organize all arguments in a logical progression and support them with appropriate facts, statistics, and quotes by experts. Conclude with a brief review and statement of what you want to achieve. Once completed, check your spelling, punctuation, grammar, and facts.

Always refer to the publication’s editorial page, or call for their requirements, correct address, and fax number. Most editors appreciate letters that are typed and limited to one page. Include your name, address, and telephone number so they may contact you if needed. Always sign your letter if you want it published. Anonymous or illegible letters are never accepted.

Remember, keep it focused, concise, and well-argued. Be proud to sign your name and have your opinion count!


A Student