"I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
Together we can make Tennessee a better place!
UNTAX GROCERIES! TAX THE WEALTH! FEED THE NEEDY! NOT THE GREEDY!
Tips for writing a good letter to the editor
Click here for a sample letter and a list of links to submit
your letter to newspapers statewide.
After the front page, the opinion page is usually one of the most
read parts of a newspaper. Because of that, writing letters to the editor is
an excellent forum to get our message out. Below are a few tips that can improve
the chance that your letter gets published.
- Be concise and to the point. Most newspapers limit your letter
to between 100 and 150 words. If you're letter is much longer, the paper will
ether edit it or they won't publish it at all. A lot of word processing software
will automatically give you a word count for your letter.
- If possible, write your letter shortly after a major story
ran or in response to another letter. This way you can ensure your letter
has a tie-in to a topic that is considered "hot" or newsworthy to
- If you are rebutting a statement someone else made, don't spend
a lot of time restating their arguments. You only need reference their statement.
Instead, spend most of your ink to get your message out.
- Pick a focus and stick with it. While there are a lot of good
reasons to support tax reform, it is better to make a couple of arguments
well than to only scratch the surface of eight different arguments.
- Organize your thoughts and try to avoid rambling. If it helps,
make an outline of the major points you want to make then write from that.
State your case, followed by a sentence or two about each major point, then
summarize your argument.
- Use facts to bolster your case, but don't overdo it.
A few good, strategically placed facts can go a long way.
Check out our on-line facts about State
Tax Reform or the Food
and Business Tax Fairness Act for talking points and
facts to support your letter.
- Frame your arguments in values language. Everyone makes decisions
based on their own value system, so when writing about our inadequate education
system for example, remember it's ultimately about how we value our children.
- Get a friend to proofread your letter for both grammar and
readability. Does the message come across? Does it make sense? If not, consider
making some changes.
- Most newspapers now allow you to submit your letter by email
or through a web form. If you are submitting your letter by email, be sure
to write "letter to the editor" in the subject line so as not to
get mistaken for spam.
- Be sure to include your name, address, and phone number. The
phone number is particularly important as some newspapers will call to confirm
before printing the letter.