We are living in a unique moment – amid intersecting climate, economic and public health crises. Measures that were previously deemed impossible to deal with the climate crisis and with systemic racism and injustice are becoming possible overnight. We are seeing massive investments in health care, infrastructure and other community services. However, this window is also an opportunity for corporations and those who seek to divide us to push an agenda of austerity and privatization.
We’ve compiled a list of contacts to support you in writing to your local papers and newsletters. Be sure to share your letter through blogs, Facebook friends – anywhere there is a public conversation evolving around social shifts and government actions during this historic time. This is a crucial moment to make your voice heard – change is possible!
What is an Op-Ed?
An Op-Ed allows you to share your opinion on a given topic, generally in the newspaper. They should stay between 600 – 700 words, be clear, concise and have a defined point or opinion on an issue.
What is a Letter to the Editor?
A letter to the editor is shorter – aim for 150 words. This can respond to an article published in the paper or can share ideas that you think have been missing from the conversation so far.
Things to consider while writing to your local paper:
Your voice and your perspective are both key to a good piece. The hook of the piece will be your compelling claim, fact or perspective, and how those things relate to your community, whether it be your municipality, province, or country.
The main part of your piece should be key messages and evidence to support your argument. We've put together a list of bullet points of the importance of this moment in re-defining what is possible as we tackle the climate crisis and build a better world. We encourage you to include these in the body of your piece. Additional pieces to include are interesting facts, data in support of your point or the historical context of your perspective. Weave your experiences into the piece. Ensure that you use common language – too much jargon, and you lose your audience. Additionally, make sure that you properly cite or quote your sources.
Also important is a memorable final statement – what consideration will you leave your audience with? You want your piece to remain with people as they continue to absorb the evolving context.
Finally, timeliness is an important consideration for editors in deciding whether to publish your piece. These days and weeks will be a critical time to shift the public discourse around what is possible. It is important to submit a well-written piece to the publications you are hoping will publish your writing, but it is equally important that it is timely and concise. We are happy to support you in the editing process!
How to submit your piece:
When you're submitting your piece, it's important to check the publication guidelines of your local paper or newsletter – if you can't find those guidelines online, give them a call.