How to Send a Letter to the Editor
Have a perspective on public education that you want to share with the community? Write a letter to the editor! Here are some guidelines to help get you started.
A few pointers
- Several letters on the same topic or issue can be a strong indicator to our local policymakers and elected officials, so encourage your friends to share their voice too.
- State why you’re writing in your first sentence.
- Effective letters focus more on issues than personal attacks.
- State what you’re calling for (or demanding, if you feel so bold!). Whether it’s for the school board and county to vote to increase funding, or for the creation of a long-term plan for new school construction and additions, or for a multi-year budget that helps spend our education dollars more efficiently — tell the community or your elected officials what you want to see happen.
- Keep it focused on one or two key points.
- If you’re responding to an action or event, respond quickly! Timely comments are the most newsworthy.
Submission guidelines for local publications
Times Free Press
- Keep it topical, short, legible, and not more often than one every 30 days. Letters may be edited by the Times Free Press for clarity and length.
- Word count limit is 200 words!
- Must be signed with name, address and telephone number.
- Send to: Editorial page editor (either Times or Free Press), P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401; fax: 423-757-6383; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The site publishes longer form letters than the newspaper is able to. There is no word limit (but if your article is too long you may lose your reader).
- Must include your real first and last name and contact information.
- Email to email@example.com.
The topic of the moment is school funding. Want to share your thoughts on funding with the community? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking on what to write about.
- Talk about a specific program that is under- or unfunded in your school and the impact to students.
- Give examples of unacceptable maintenance issues that aren’t being addressed in your school.
- Explain your perspective on the problem with HCDE not having a multi-year budget.
- Paint the picture of what you think our community will look like in 30 years if we don’t start investing more in our schools now.
- Explain why it’s a problem that HCDE and the county don’t have a long-term plan for building new schools or expanding school facilities.
- Talk about the impact of underfunding technology in schools (not enough devices for each child to have access).
- Explain what underfunding our schools says to you about our values or actions as a community.
- Explain what it says to you about our county government that schools are not the top priority in the county budget.
- Offer your perspective on what students deserve that they aren’t getting due to lack of funds.
- Anything else that you care about related to funding in our schools!
Feel free to contact our communications director, Natalie Cook (423-991-7790, firstname.lastname@example.org), with any questions or if you need a boost in the writing process! She’s also happy to help you brainstorm a topic or give a proofread if you want it.
If you submit by email, feel free to copy email@example.com. She can follow up with the publication to draw attention to your letter.