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Write a Letter to the Editor

The letters to the editor section of a newspaper is a valuable opportunity to raise awareness on important issues and to inspire others to take action. Political leaders and other policy makers rely upon letters to the editor to gauge the views of their constituents.

A letter is best received when responding to a recent news article, opinion or editorial, so cite the date and title at the beginning of your letter (e.g., Letter Re: “Cancer Rates Continue to Rise,” Editorial, Feb. 25). Try to write your letter as soon as possible — after a day or two it is unlikely to be published, especially in larger newspapers.

Include personal stories and local statistics whenever possible. You will strengthen your letter and improve your chance of being published. Brief letters that get straight to the point are more likely to be published. Make sure you’re within the word limits.

Put your letter aside for an hour then proof-read it with fresh eyes. Ask yourself: Does the letter communicate my point clearly? Will my words inspire action?

Newspapers will not publish anonymous letters, so include your name, address and telephone number. Someone from the newspaper often calls to confirm your identity.

The next time you get an opportunity please take a few minutes and write a letter to the editor. And if your letter is published, please send a copy to us! We’d love to read it.

In Summary:

  • Keep your letter short
  • Relate your letter to a recent news article or opinion piece
  • Use local statistics and personal stories where possible
  • Proof-read your letter (out loud) before sending
  • Don’t forget to include your name, phone number and address

Sample Letter

Eliminating Carcinogens

Letter to the Editor

Re: “Cancer Rates Continue to Rise”, Editorial, Feb. 25”

Dear Editor,

In Canada, there has been a sharp rise in cancer since the 1970s. One third of Canadian females and half of Canadian males will develop cancer. Most cancers are preventable — they are not inherited, but caused by repeated or prolonged exposure to environmental hazards. Most Canadians have no idea they are being exposed to known, or suspected, carcinogens every day — but they are! They are exposed through the food they eat, makeup they wear, cleaning products they use and many other consumer products.

The Federal Government is responsible to protect the health of its citizens through regulation of food and consumer products. It should be doing its job and setting strict targets for the phase-out and elimination of all known and suspected carcinogens.


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