Tips on writing a letter to the editor
• Keep the letter short (no longer than 250 words)
• Pick one or two key points and expand on them using local information, local sources, and local angles and personal stories.
• Letters must be timely to a “hot” issue (i.e. reference it to a recent article)
• Write a strong lead sentence – the first sentence is the most important
• Lay out your points a, b, c and explain
• Sentences should not be longer than 10-15 words
• End the letter with a short sentence that ties it to the beginning of the letter and has a punch
• Key phrases first
• Call ahead of time to let paper know you are submitting the letter
• If your letter is published, call and thank them.
• If you are having a hard time getting your letter published, call and ask why
• It is good to have letters to the editor coming from many different sources
• Keep it simple and from the heart
• If sending it to the Des Moines Register and several other papers too, send to Register first or send a slightly different version to the register, sometimes they like an “exclusive”
• If you have a longer letter (600 words) you would like to write, call the editor and ask about writing an op-ed.
You’re ready to submit your letter to the editor!
Key Daily papers in Iowa:
- Des Moines Register – firstname.lastname@example.org or Editor, Des Moines Register, 715 Locust Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50309
- The Dubuque Telegraph Herald – online submission at www.thonline.com/letters.cfm or Letters to the Editor, Telegraph Herald P.O. Box 688, Dubuque, Iowa 52004-0688 or faxed 563/588-5745
- The Omaha World Heral – email@example.com or Letters to the Editor, Omaha World Herald Building Omaha, NE 68102-1138 Phone: (402) 444-1000
- Marshalltown Times Republican – online submission at http://220.127.116.11/vnr/add_submission.asp?categoryID=1020&publicationID=36 or Letters to the Editor, Times Republican, P.O Box 1300 Marshalltown, IA 50158
- Cedar Rapids Gazette – firstname.lastname@example.org or FAX: (319) 398-5846 or The Gazette, Letters to the Editor P.O. Box 511 Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406
- Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier – email@example.com or Editor, Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier P.O. Box 540 501 Commercial Street Waterloo, Iowa 50704
- Quad City Times – firstname.lastname@example.org or Editor, Quad City Times 500 E. Third St. • Davenport, IA 52801