News publications around the world feature the voices of every-day citizens (you and me!) in the form of letters to the editor. These short responses to the news are a place to share criticisms, ideas, encouragement, and questions, offering a cross-section of opinions from a publication’s readership. Perhaps equally important, letters to the editor provide a newspaper with valuable feedback from their readers.
For this prompt, write a letter to the editor in response to a recently published article. In accordance with tips from editors around the world, your letter should follow these guidelines:
SHORT: Your letter should be between 100 and 175 words, which means making your case in just a point or two.
AND SNAPPY: Your voice must rise above hundreds of other submissions. Set your opinion apart with memorable word choice, incisive observations, humor, and originality.
SPECIFIC: Make sure your letter refers to a specific article or idea expressed by the publication to which you are writing.
TIMELY: The subject of your letter should be something in the very recent news. An editor isn’t interested in what happened a year ago, or even last week.
Here’s a recent example of a letter published in the NYT that follows these guidelines:
To the Editor:
Would The New York Times please stop using the term “meddling” to describe the Russians’ cyberattack on our elections? The term profoundly diminishes the severity of what has occurred and allows people to think dismissively about it. “Meddling” is minor interference — what two old biddies do when they don’t like the young man their niece is marrying. It is not a geopolitical attack with enormous national consequences.
By the way, I’m an old biddy.
DALE ALMOND, BLOOMFIELD, N.Y.
Need a little more guidance? Check out this incisive letter from Community Ambassador Delia Rune