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Letters to the editor
When writing letters to newspapers be aware that to get your letter published you will need to follow certain guidelines. Newspapers get many letters each day and space in letters columns is at a premium. So the editor can be very selective of the letters received. Don't be discouraged if you don't succeed first time, it may take you several letters before one is published.
Editors choose letters that get the point across in the least number of words so don't ramble on. Be short and to the point - one or maybe two A4 sides. Unless you see an opportunity to mesh two subjects together in a clever way which adds to your argument keep to one subject. Letters on current topics are more likely to be printed than issues "out of the blue".
Use double spacing for printed letters or faxes. It will make it easier for the editor to read and write notes. Clearly show your full name, address, fax, if you have got one and a phone number they can contact you on. Most newspapers will phone to make sure that you are really who you say you are before publishing. Unless it is an e-mail sign it. Some newspapers don't check their e-mail regularly. A fax or posted letter may be best.
Expect the editor to make changes to your letter. They may edit it for brevity, or because someone else has made the same point, or because they don't like the way you have expressed something, or to fix grammar, or they don't have enough space, or they think you are waffling, or just because they want to.
Comply with the conditions that they stipulate on their "letters" page. Check your facts - they probably will, and if you are making misleading claims they will most probably throw your letter in the bin. If you are writing on behalf of a group or organisation, state your position in the organisation. Use an official letterhead.
It may take 5-10 letters before they actually start taking notice of you and begin publishing your letters. And even after you have been writing letters for years you will be lucky if they publish 50% of your efforts.
Address your letter, "Letters to The Editor, (name of paper)". Newspapers don't like to think they are on a "merge list". A more personalised letter will get better results. In fact some newspapers refuse to print letters that have been sent to other papers as well. They prefer a "scoop". Also if referring to an article or a previous letter, always clarify by including a reference, eg: Time letters 14 July 2006.