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: letters@timesfreepress.com

Chattanoogan.com

  • 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 news@chattanoogan.com.

Topical prompts

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!

Need help?

Feel free to contact our communications director, Natalie Cook (423-991-7790, natalie@unifi-ed.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 natalie@unifi-ed.com. She can follow up with the publication to draw attention to your letter.