How do you feel about the way your local newspaper covered a recent gay-related story? Family Equality Council offers five steps to follow when contacting a newspaper or magazine. Newspapers typically require responses to articles the same day the article runs. Magazine responses should be submitted the same week the issue appears. If possible, use e-mail to submit your letter and fax a back-up copy.
- Be brief. 150-250 words max. (500 words max for an Opinion Editorial)
- Use language that is easy to understand. Make your arguments clear and concise; they’ll have more impact.
- Avoid personal attacks. Don’t make comments that could be considered rude, flip or threatening.
- Effective letters to the editor are made up of three paragraphs, each with a specific purpose and content:
- Paragraph 1: The Proposition Say what caused you to write in (concern about, or thanks for, a specific article, column or editorial; lack of LGBT inclusion in news coverage, anti-gay editorial policies, etc.) Important note: Be sure in responding not to repeat negative or damaging information.
- Paragraph 2: The Argument Say what you think and why people should care. Be concise and make your point clearly. Use brief, personal stories when appropriate. If possible, use quotes from an article/column/editorial to bolster your argument.
- Paragraph 3: The Call to Action/Conclusion Say what should be done to correct the publication’s/author’s representation of LGBT people; and wrap up with a smart, punchy conclusion that ties your argument back to your proposition.
Source: Family Equality Council