How can Op/Ed’s and Letters to the Editor help fight climate change?
• The opinion section is one of the most widely read sections in a newspaper.
• Writing about an issue that you care about is a great tool for educating the public.
• Elected officials pay attention to the opinion pages. They consider it a way to stay in touch with local voices.
Why you should write and LTE of Opinion Piece?
• You care about this issue and you are knowledgeable about the science of climate change and its solutions. Add your own stories and commitment to the issue, and you have something unique.
• There is only one you and each of us need to speak our truth. Your voice keeps the conversation from being dominated by incorrect or inadequate information.
How, exactly do I do this?
1. Find an article in the paper you can respond to, or craft your own message. Decide whether you’re writing a letter to the editor (LTE) or an op/ed.
2. An LTE is usually a short (100 to 200 words), to the point message written in response to an issue that has been in the news recently. An op/ed is generally longer (600/800 words). It’s a more in depth argument in support of an issue or opinion.
3. Write and edit your piece.
4. Submit your piece:
a. LTE- Look up your target paper’s letter submission process and carefully follow the instructions.
b. Op/ed- Write a short pitch explaining why your piece is a good fit for that paper, include your piece, and then send in a single email.
5. Follow up within a few days by sending a short email or making a call to the paper.
Strategies to improve the likelihood of publication
• Read the opinion section of the paper before writing to get a sense of what is published.
• Refer to something already printed in the paper.
• Keep it simple; keep it short.
• Make it personal. Tell a story or use an example from your own life.
• When pitching an op/ed, keep it short but be sure to cover why you’re qualified to speak on the issue and why this topic is relevant for this particular paper. Include the text of your op/ed in the body of the email (avoid attachments).
• Follow the submission process.
• Only submit to one outlet at a time and only use previously unpublished work.
• Follow up after submitting but be polite, and understand that it is common for LTEs and Op/eds to be rejected even when they are well written and relevant.