Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper is one of the best ways to influence health care reform. Letters to the editor are an easy way to voice your opinion, draw attention to an issue, bring issues to the attention of your legislators, and correct or interpret facts in response to an inaccurate or biased article.
Submitting an effective letter
- Keep it short
- Use local statistics and personal stories
- Relate your letter to a recent article or op-ed
- Include your phone numbers and address, as the publication will need to confirm that you wrote the letter before they publish it.
- Opinion/editorials are longer than letters to the editor (between 500 and 800 words.)
- Be newsworthy: Tie your topic into an upcoming vote, appropriate holiday, anniversary, community event, the release of a new report, a recent article, or a popular movie.
- Consider inviting a respected or influential member or your community to co-sign or co-author the Op-Ed with you.
- Use local statistics to capture people’s attention.
- It usually takes editorial boards two weeks to review submissions.
Editorials endorsing a particular issue or piece of legislation can change even the most committed policy maker’s mind.
- Research the newspaper to discover if they already have written an editorial on the topic and to make sure that their editorials are locally written.
- Research your topic with an eye to arguments from other sides.