CHANGING HEARTS AND MINDS: How to write an awesome letter to the editor for your local newspaper.
One of the most important tools in a campaign where we need to sway public opinion on a subject matter, is to write a letter to the editor of your local newspapers. When we tell our stories, we have the ability to change hearts and minds, and persuade the readers toward your point of view.
There has been a lot of misinformation surrounding medical cannabis here in Utah over the years, and it's the countless stories of patients like us sharing our experiences, that ultimately proved the lies behind the War on Medical Cannabis. As we now move into the Summer months, and the begining of the main campaign season for this ballot initiative, we are going to see a lot of fear porn from the Utah Medical Association and their malevolent gang of fact assassinators.
It's time to share your story, and change the hearts and minds of Utahan's when it comes to Medical Cannabis, and we know that Veterans are great at telling their stories!
Focus on one important point (don’t try to address separate issues in one letter).
Be sure to follow the guidelines and word count limit of the target publication (up to 250 words is typical for local and regional papers, but many larger newspapers are limited to 150 or so and some magazines limit letters to less than 100 words).
Maximize your chance of being published by removing every non-essential words. For example, don’t say, “I think…” It’s obvious. This also minimizes the chance of editors changing or condensing your the letter.
Use verified facts. Take the time to check original sources rather than repeating “fact” cited in another media outlet. Speak from your own experiences and your own perspective, this is how we change hearts and minds!
Create immediacy by indicating how readers will be affected by the issue you address when possible; try to balance criticism with a positive — ask readers for action when practical. This includes your elected representatives — by including their names in the letter and asking for action, you can get their attention.
Point people to a source for more information or to engage in action whenever practical.
Speak in the language and to the literacy level of that publication’s readers.
EDIT YOUR WORK, EDIT IT AGAIN, EDIT IT ONE MORE TIME… then ask a friend to edit it once more so a new set of eye balls can spot the things you’ve become blind to.
Things to Avoid:
Don’t overstate/exaggerate your points. One overstatement makes every following point suspect.
Don’t insult your opponents. Your letter is to invite them to see your side, and insulting them is the quickest way to turn them off. It might feel good when you say it, but it just destroyed your intention for writing the letter.
Avoid jargon or acronyms (spell out any name the first time you use it, followed by the acronym in parentheses).
Never use all capital letters or bold text to emphasize a word. It will rarely be printed that way and may prevent your from being considered. You may italicize one or two words, but most papers will print it in plain text regardless — the words must speak for themselves. Use quotation marks to indicate the title of a book, article, etc.
Don’t go to the comments section. When you engage the trolls, you never win. Stand by your original letter, with no further comment. That is is how you make a statement in todays world of trolling! TRUST that your friends and allies in the movement will respond where it is necessary to correct any misinformation by the Prohibition Trolls.
(Original Source: http://reclaimdemocracy.org/effective_letters_editor/ )