How To Submit a Letter to The Editor

The letters page is the most read section of newspapers and magazines. Space is limited and competition is fierce so make each word count!

 

  • Get to the point in the first line and refer to the article to which you are responding.

    • Letters that respond to previously printed material frequently stand a better chance of being printed.

  • Check the letter specifications of the newspaper to which you are writing.

    • Length and format requirements vary from paper to paper. (Generally, roughly two short paragraphs or 200-250 words are ideal.) You also must include your name, signature, address and phone number.

  • Challenge opponents with wit and facts rather than abuse.

  • Read the letters page in the publication to get a sense of the style and size that get into print.

  • Senators and Representatives will clip and read anything with their names in it.

    • If you call on them, by name, to take action, they'll take notice.


Monitor the paper for your letter. If your letter has not appeared within a week or two, follow up with a call to the editorial department of the newspaper.

If your letter to the editor about long term care workforce issues is printed, please notify the Alliance at sarah.bass@pathwaysofwi.org

How To Submit an OP-ED

An op-ed, short for "opposite the editorial page", is a written prose piece typically published by a newspaper or magazine which expresses the opinion of an author usually not affiliated with the publication's editorial board. Op-eds are different from both editorials and letters to the editor.

In an op-ed, state your conclusion first. Make your strongest point right up front, and then spend the rest of the op-ed supporting your point with facts and anecdotal information.

Points to Remember:

  • Get to the point in the first paragraph. 

  • Focus on one issue or idea and be brief. 

  • Be timely and controversial, while at the same time be pragmatic and the voice of reason.

  • Be personal and conversational.

  • Provide insight, understanding: Educate the reader. 

  • Near the end, clearly re-state your position and issue a call to action. 

  • Use clear and direct language. 

  • Emphasize active verbs. 

  • Avoid clichés and jargon. 

  • Appeal to the average reader.

  • Write 750 double-spaced words or less (fewer is always better). 

  • Include a brief bio, along with your phone number, email address, and mailing address at the bottom.

Writing a Press Advisory 

The purpose of a press advisory is to notify reporters of an upcoming event. Check out a sample press advisory here. 

 

Here are tips on how to write a press advisory:

 

  • Make or use an attractive letterhead.

  • Add the traditional heading:

    •  Date

    •  Add "Press Advisory" to the top

    •  "Contact:" Add the name and phone numbers of your spokesperson

  • State the nature of the event with the time and place.

    • Be sure to include who, what, where, when, and why.

  • If applicable, add in bold face, “Photo Opportunity.”

    • Include a description of what will be photographed (i.e. A 2 ft x 4 ft paycheck will be displayed with the bi-weekly wage of a direct care worker).

Writing a Press Release  

A press release is a compilation of statements and information to be given out at the media event and delivered afterward to reporters who didn’t attend.

 

Here are tips on how to write a press advisory:

  • Make or use an attractive letterhead.

  • Add the traditional heading:

    •  Date

    •  Add "Press Advisory" to the top

    •  "Contact:" Add the name and phone numbers of your spokesperson

  • Write a headline.

    • The purpose of the headline is to catch a reporter’s or the news director’s attention. Use active wording.

  • Write a lead paragraph.

    • This is the most important paragraph in the whole release. It must grab the attention of the reporter or editor. Start with the city or date (without the year) in bold face. In the remainder of the paragraph and in regular font answer the following questions: who, what, when, where, and why?

  • Write a second paragraph with quotes from your spokesperson.

    • Use quotation marks in any statement other than completely non-controversial matters of fact.

  • Continue to develop the story using quotations from the same and other leaders.

    • The third paragraph would be the place to document scientific evidence, data, or findings in a publication.

  • End the release by plugging your next meeting or activity, or give your phone number or web site address for more information.

  • Try to limit the release to two sheets of paper.

    • If you have a report or study to back up your position, hand it out in addition to the release.

© 2019 by The Wisconsin Long-Term Care Workforce Alliance 

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