Letter to the Editor (Sample Letters)

What is a letter to the editor? If you’re not familiar with it, it is a form of communication sent by readers to newspaper or magazine that brings up certain topic. The letter is considered as formal, so it has to follow strict format. In most cases, the letter is written to be published in physical or digital publication. Read below the reasons behind why the letter is written, the submitting procedure, the writing format, and the examples of this specific type of correspondence.

Letter to the Editor

Reasons Why People Write a Letter to the Editor

Letter to the editor is a common feature in many newspaper or magazine. It provides the audience opportunity to share their view to other audience, make commentary of particular issue, or as a respond to the issue itself. Here is the list of why people write the letter:

  • To propose their idea to the readers
  • To post their complaint
  • To persuade public opinion
  • To spread knowledge about particular issue
  • To influent policy makers or officials directly or indirectly
  • To raise awareness about internal issue
  • To announce their group and appeal volunteers
  • To address and share opinion about various concerns
  • And many more

How to Submit the Letter to the Editor

Nowadays, most publication companies choose to receive submitted materials, including letter to the editor, via email. This way, the letter can be sent quickly. Of course, there’s a chance that you can still send your letter through mailing, but you may face an issue with timing.

After your letter is received by the editor, the editor team will consider if your letter is going to be included in their upcoming issue. Typically, the published letters are those that have sufficient quality. It is normal for letters to undergo thorough scrutiny by the Editorial Board members, prior to being approved to be published.

Letter to the Editor Format

Different publications have different set of rules regarding what the letter to the editor must look like, in terms of format. For example, they have guideline about the amount of maximum counted words, so you need to edit your letter if it exceeds the limit. This letter is quite tricky to write as you’re most likely only have several paragraphs that need to grab the attentions of the readers by the first few sentences.

That being said, you may follow the general rules of format below to write the letter, in order to make it as proper as possible:

  • Your address: You have to provide your address and contact information in the letter, such as email or phone numbers.
  • Date: Input the date where you write and send the letter in the line under your address.
  • The editor’s or publication company’s address: Include the address of the recipient, which in this case, is the editor of the publication.
  • The subject: Also known as reference, subject is a part that should be able to summarize the primary purpose of your letter. It has to catch the editor’s attention in the first place, in order to increase the opportunity of your letter being read and considered to be published.
  • Formal salutation: Address the editor and the readers of your letter in a formal way. You may write down the name of the editor in this section.
  • Body: Here is the core section of your letter. Body of the letter consists of minimal three paragraphs as follows.
    • 1st paragraph: As you increase your chance to get the letter published if it was concise, try to explain the purpose of your letter briefly.
    • 2nd paragraph: Explain further about the topic that you want to bring up. It starts with introduction of the issue and ends with your recommendation on how to improve the issue.
    • 3rd paragraph: Write what you expect of the Editor here. You may also re-summarize your points, make a statement of how the readers can take a part in the resolution of the issue, and restate call-of-action.
  • Your name, signature, and date: The part is self-explanatory. It is also possible to write your contact information in this section instead of in the opening.

Letter to the Editor (Examples)

A letter to the editor may be a useful tool to share your view or knowledge about certain issue that impacting the community. By using this means, you have opportunity to reach broader audience. That being said, make sure you follow the proper format of writing this letter.

Your written letter to the editor can be published on the very next issue after you send it, the other upcoming issues, or not at all. Keep in mind that publication companies, especially the major ones, receives dozens to thousands of letters on daily basis, but they can only publish one or two each time. Your letter is most likely won’t be published if it’s too lengthy, it contains personal attacks or slanderous statements, or if you have submitted it anonymously.