Have questions about how to write “Letters to the Editor?”

If you’ve ever wondered why some “letters to the editor,” get printed an others don’t, or maybe when is a letter more likely to get printed then today is your lucky day.

Stuart Leavenworth the editor of the Editoral Page at the Sacramento Bee has published a short Q&A answering a few of the most often asked questions.

If Stuart’s name seems familiar to readers here it might be because we wrote about his sabbatical when he was working in a restaurant as an apprentice chef.

Read the Q&A here. One interesting thought I’ve had. In the Q&A it says,”If we get 20 letters that all make the same point about the same subject, we may publish only one of them.” For hot issues it might be interesting to show a “tag cloud,” or some way of showing how or cold an issue is depending on the number of letters received.

Also, if you’re curious, around the holidays they are apparently in need of good topical letters.

A few notes of my own:

  • stay away from tired rhetoric (and yes frequent use of “liberal,” or “conservative falls into this category;
  • have a single thought for your letter, don’t try and solve all of the worlds problems at once;
  • include an action;
  • make it topical, but not hysterical;
  • write like a real person, not how you think a newspaper article should read.
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