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How To Get Your Letter To the Editor Published

Letters to the Editor: How to Write Effectively and Get Published

Writing letters to the editor is a critical way for everyday people to make their voices heard.  While it is important to write to larger publications, never underestimate the importance of the local media.  


Advantage of sending to smaller publications:

1.  You are more likely to get published and have your message heard by your local community.
2.  You have a better chance of controlling the reaction, and you can give local residents the chance to contact you and get involved in the long-term work that will be necessary to change U.S. policy.
3.  You will likely encounter less opposition, which may lead to your message being better received.
4.  Change often begins at a very local level and trickles up.   

Letters to the Editor, Do's and Don'ts :

Do

1. Write short, succinct letters (follow the newspapers guidelines, normally less than 200 words).  Letter must be tied to a story that appeared in the paper and reference it in some way.
2. Tie Palestinian human rights/U.S. military aid into a local issue so that people can make easy connections.
3. Coordinate with at least one or two other people if possible.  Why?  Because chances are that a negative response to your LTE will be published, but you will not have the opportunity to personally respond. Many newspapers will not print an LTE from the same person within the same  4 month period, as they don't want their letters page to turn into a debate between two people, so be aware of this and have someone queued up and ready to write an additional letter in defense of your position.  
4. Provide all of your contact information and local affiliations in the first letter, and ask that your email be included below the letter if published.
5. Thoroughly edit your letters before sending.
6. Mention your Member of Congress by name in the letter (this way the communications director will see it and take note).
7. Use figures from our Aid to Israel website (www.aidtoisrael.org) to drive home economic points.
8.  If possible, briefly refute commonly used opposition talking points (Israel is being unfairly singled out, Israel is a vibrant democracy, Israel is a key ally of the U.S. etc).
9.  Send us your letters if they're published!

Don't

1. Immediately send your LTE to multiple papers at the same time, or post letter online (Facebook, blogs, forums) prior to publication.  Newspapers want exclusive editorial content, and will not print your material if it is already public.
2. Just write critical  letters.   Please take a minute to check out our Congressional report card, and make time to write letters in support of  Congressional actions that support Palestinian human rights.  This is one of the most important, but often overlooked, parts of our advocacy.  Members of Congress want to see more public support for the position that we are advocating. 
From a results-oriented perspective, a completely recalcitrant Member of Congress will likely never work with you constructively, and probably won't change as result of one LTE.  On the other hand, a friendly Member of Congress will take note of the letter, and will take any "asks" during future meetings much more seriously. 
3. Write a manifesto.  Letters need to be short, incisive, and focused on a recent story.

Need help or want to send us a letter that was published? Contact cdcnetwork@endtheoccupation.org