Level 2

Tips for Writing Effective Letters to the Editor

One goal of our outreach efforts is to empower you to communicate with your local media about the importance of protecting Wisconsin's streams. With this goal in mind, below we have included some tips for writing Letters to the Editor. Well-written letters are usually published. Letters to the Editor keep stream monitoring in readers' minds and can set the record straight about water quality issues in your community. Together we can target most media outlets in Wisconsin, raise awareness about water quality and keep growing the Citizen-based Stream Monitoring program for generations to come.

Tips for Writing a Letter To An Editor:

  • Keep letters short. Ideally letters to the editor are 100-200 words long, and do not exceed 250 words.
  • Submit your letter in the format that is preferred by your local newspaper - whether that is an e-mail submission form, a direct e-mail to the editorial staff or a hard copy letter sent via mail.
  • Use your real name. Most newspapers no longer accept anonymous submissions.
  • Include contact information in case the editor has any questions.
  • Try to make it relevant or timely to an issue at hand - i.e., start of monitoring season, construction on a stream, pollution problem, focusing on positive activities to protect a stream in your community, or an event such as Earth Day (April 22) or World Water Monitoring Day (September 18)
  • Use spell check and have a friend or family member proofread your letter.
  • Do not generalize; rather use a specific instance and/or data to get your points across.

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