A letter to the editor is a great way to get a message or information to a broader audience. Letters are read by community members, local politicians, decision makers and others and can be a great way to increase interest and support. Here are five quick tips you can use to help get your letter published:
1. Have a “hook.” Is there something local happening on trade that you can mention in your letter, such as a NAFTA challenge against municipal or provincial governments, or a local business that does business in the U.S., or a recent news article that you can refer to? Newspapers are more likely to print letters that tie in with recent coverage or issues.
2. Keep it short. Keep your writing concise and snappy and get to the point. Good letters always begin with a strong opening (use your hook!), followed by information, facts or arguments to support it, and then a conclusion. Check to see if the newspaper has any word count guidelines – 200 to 300 words is usually what you want to aim for. A letter that is too long will not be used.
3. Be factual. If you are including facts about NAFTA or trade, try to include where they came from. This will increase the credibility of your letter.
4. Include your contact information. Newspapers will always want to verify the authorship of letters. Be sure to include your phone number and email address when you send it in.
5. Try more than one paper. There is nothing wrong with trying to get published in more than one newspaper. Just be sure to tailor your letter to the publication – change your hook or add some new information – to increase your chances.
Let us know if your letter gets published! We can keep track of letters, op-eds, and other media coverage to help other chapters and campaigners raise awareness and build momentum. Thank you for taking action!
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us toll-free at 1-800-387-7177, or mail in a copy of your letter to: Council of Canadians, Atten.: NAFTA campaign, 300-251 Bank St., Ottawa, ON, K2P 1X3.