Letters to the Editor and Op-Ed pieces
LTE’s and Op-Eds (also known as Guest Viewpoints) are tools we use to raise awareness and educate the public about pressing issues.
These publications offer space for ongoing community, and with their wide readership can offer key ways to engage the public and encourage people to take action.
Why we write LTEs:
1. To influence and shape public opinion
2. To influence and pressure decision makers on key issues
3. To encourage participation or specific action on an issue
4. To define our conservation platforms and fill in the concrete details of what we’re advocating for
View our complete primer on writing and publishing LTEs here: LTE Primer
Letter writing basics:
Who, What, Where, When, Why & How
Who – Identify who you are and why your perspective matters. You can also identify who else is affected by the issue.
What – Describe the issue – research credible sources. Make sure your message is clear and direct.
Where – Identify the local connection—why does this matter here?
When – Describe the relevance of the issue to today, and perhaps impacts for the future. You can also mention past instances when the issue was ignored or dealt with differently.
Why – Why is this issue important? This is where you get to really dig into the issue. Make readers feel it by illustrating your issue, bringing in tangible examples, and connecting to emotions.
How – How should readers take action and how should the solution be crafted?—ie join a march, comment to an agency, get more info, etc.
- Respond to other pieces: When you see an issue in the news, in editorials, or in other op-eds and LTE’s, pick up your pen or go to your keyboard and write a response, preferably as soon as you see it (refer to any item that you are responding to by date published)
- Include a hook—be intentional about grabbing the reader’s attention
- Plan for the counter-claim—consider arguments from the other side and do your best to counter them without making their arguments for them
- Be brief, don’t try to include all the arguments
- Assume your reader is intelligent but un-informed. Speak in common language
- Bring a unique viewpoint not previously stated in other LTE’s or op-eds
- Create a personal story: Avoid dry facts! Connect your reader with a personal story that connects to the issue.
- Explain technical issues if you can make them understandable, otherwise, skip those points
- Use humor, but only if you are confident that your message will still be clear. Often humor can confuse a message and distract readers from your point
- Be respectful: don’t call names or insult the writer or your opponents
- Make sure to offer a call to action – what can the reader do?
- Make sure the final letter flows – from introduction to conclusion
- Be sure you haven’t forgotten any important points (having others who are more unfamiliar with the issue read for you is a great way to make sure that you don’t have any information gaps)
- Re-read for errors: Don’t rely on spell checkers, they’re not reliable; they won’t catch the wrong word spelled correctly. Is your grammar correct?
- Spell out acs & abbrs (acronyms and abbreviations) the first time you use them; it’s ok to use after that.
- Conform with the publication’s word limit (some word limits included with contact info below)
- Be sure you’ve included a call to action and how the reader can do something about the issue
- Please include all of your contact information: To ensure letters are genuine, newspapers often verify! Include your full name, town, phone number, and title if it relates to the subject matter.
How to Submit:
In Eugene, the primary media are the Register Guard and the Eugene Weekly. Aside from these local print papers, other good publications to submit to are the Oregonian and the Statesmans Journal. Instructions for submitting to each of these publications are below:
*All publications require the inclusion of your real name and address. The address will not be printed, but your home town will.
LTE: 200 word limit, Email To: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Mail To: Letters to the editor, 3500 Chad Drive, Suite 600, Eugene, OR 97408,
Guest Viewpoint: 500-700 words, Email To: email@example.com ; Mail To: Anna Glavash, 3500 Chad Drive, Eugene, Ore., 97408.
LTE: 250 word limit, Email To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest Viewpoint: 500-750 words, Email To: email@example.com
LTE: 250 word limit, Email To: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Mail To: letters to the editor, The Oregonian 1500 S.W. First Ave., Suite 400, Portland, Or., 97201.
Op-Ed: 500 word limit, Email To: email@example.com ; Mail To: Op-Ed Editor, The Oregonian, 1500 S.W. First Ave., Suite 400, Portland, OR 97201
LTE: 200 word limit, Email To: letters@StatesmanJournal.com ; OR Online Submission Form:http://community.statesmanjournal.com/email/letters.html
Guest Opinion: 500 word limit, Online Submission Form: http://community.statesmanjournal.com/email/guest.html
All letters are subject to editing.
Alaska Dispatch News: firstname.lastname@example.org
175 word limit
Seattle Times: email@example.com
250 words limit. Please include the topic or headline and date of the article, editorial or opinion piece to which your letter refers.
Bend Bulletin: firstname.lastname@example.org
250 words limit. Must include the writer’s signature, phone number and address for verification.
Mail Tribune: email@example.com
200 words limit. Include writer’s name and a phone number for confirmation.
The Columbian: firstname.lastname@example.org
200 words limit. Allow 30 days between submissions. Include name, address and daytime phone number for verification.
All letters are subject to editing.
New York Times: email@example.com
150 words limit. Must refer to an article that has appeared within the last seven days, and must include the writer’s address and phone numbers. No attachments, please.
Washington Post: firstname.lastname@example.org
200 words limit. Must take as their starting point an article or other item appearing in The Post. They may not have been submitted to, posted to or published by any other media. They must include the writer’s full name — anonymous letters and letters written under pseudonyms will not be considered. For verification purposes, they must also include the writer’s home address, e-mail address and telephone numbers.
Los Angeles Times: Follow custom online form
150 words limit.
Chicago Sun-Times: Follow custom online form
San Francisco Chronicle: Follow custom online form
200 words limit.
Houston Chronicle: email@example.com
Letters must include name, address, and telephone number for verification purposes only.
Philadelphia Inquirer: Inquirer.Letters@phillynews.com
200 words limit. The writer’s name, e-mail address, home address, and day and evening phone numbers should be included for verification purposes.
Boston Globe: firstname.lastname@example.org
200 words limit. The writer’s full name, address, and phone numbers should be included for confirmation purposes.