Writing effective Letters To The Editor

Newspaper opinion pages are a long-standing opportunity for advocacy of all kinds to have their issues raised, points heard and engage in a community-wide conversation. However, simply writing any comment and submitting it to a print or online publication does not guarantee your letter will be shared.

That’s why The Fur-Bearers have created these simple tips to help your Letter to the Editor get published, and issues regarding wildlife raised in your community:

  1. Keep it simple. There’s always more we can say about any given subject, and numerous facts or variables can be introduced to argue a stance. However, most publications (even online ones) have a word-count limit, and generally, readers fall off the longer a letter goes on. If you can make your argument in clean, simple points in as few words as possible, you’ll increase the chances not only of getting published, but of readers fully engaging.
  2. Include references. You don’t need to include APA-style end notes but offering references to indicate the validity of your information (and show readers where to learn more) will be helpful to editors making the choice on what to publish.
  3. Keep it local and timely. Particularly in regional publications, making any issue locally impactful can be tricky, but is potentially the most important step you can take in advocating on an issue (particularly broader ones, such as wildlife and environmental causes). Showing how and why your issue matters to local readers will not only increase the attention your letter gets, but actively recruits members of your community to the cause.
  4. Stay polite. In a digital era, it’s easy to make subtle threats in a communication, even without intentionally choosing to. Foul language, making personal attacks, and other aggressive language not only may reduce your chances of getting published, but take focus away from your cause, and put it on the communication of the cause.

Writing letters to the editor is how The Fur-Bearers got its start way back in the 1930s – people on either side of the country, writing in about the inherently inhumane leg-hold trap. This lead to conversations between the writers directly, and ultimately, the formation of The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals in 1953. Significant, long-lasting change can start with a letter to the editor.

Remember to tag us on social media or send us clippings/links to any cover of issues related to fur-bearing animals you may get in Canada! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn to make tagging easier, and sign up for our weekly eNewsletter for more content!

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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