Letter to the Editor

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Letter to the Editor
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The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are famous for their letters columns

Letter to the Editor

Op-ed articles carry more prestige than letters to the editor. In effect, publication implies that the opinion expressed deserves attention because it shows insight into a matter of public concern. You should be familiar with the expertise of people in your organization. It is your role to encourage and assist them in writing op-ed articles when news events call for an informed view-point.

The next best thing to an op-ed article is a published letter. Letters are generally shorter than op-ed pieces. They focus primarily on rebutting an editorial or clarifying information mentioned in an investigative story or a column.

The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are famous for their letters columns. In addition to letters from ordinary citizens, they also run letters from former presidents, ambassadors, corporate leaders, and heads of major labor unions.

On the local level, the titles may not be as exotic. However, you should be on the alert for opportunities to have letters written by the head of your organization. A letter can clarify an earlier story in the newspaper or add information that was not covered.

There is limited space for letters, so you should closely follow any guidelines that the publication has established. It is important to keep letters short and to the point. In general, letters should be under 250 words. It's also wise to keep letters temperate and factual.

A letter to the editor follows a basic format. The opening paragraph should identify the subject of the letter. The second paragraph states the author's agreement or disagreement. This is followed by one or two paragraphs that explain the writer's reasoning, using facts and other pieces of information. A final paragraph can include information about the company or product that relates to the subject being discussed. You should sign the letter, giving your title and company or organization name.


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