writing LTE

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 letters@news.dmreg.com 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 – pulse@owh.com or Letters to the Editor, Omaha World Herald Building Omaha, NE 68102-1138 Phone: (402) 444-1000

  • Waterloo/Cedar Falls Couriertish.flattery@wcfcourier.com or Editor, Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier P.O. Box 540 501 Commercial Street Waterloo, Iowa 50704
  • Quad City Timesopinions@qctimes.com or Editor, Quad City Times 500 E. Third St. • Davenport, IA 52801