Write a letter to the editor: Tips for Writing an Effective Letter to the Editor

Send a letter to a local or national paper expressing your views on nuclear weapons, missile defense, space weaponization, or another issue.

Guidelines and sample letters

List of newspaper e-mail addresses

Tips for Writing an Effective Letter to the Editor

When writing a letter to the editor, first look at the length and style of the letters that paper usually prints. Normally, letters are about 100 words. Your comment should be timely and relevant and should add something new to the discussion. It helps to refer directly to stories that were published in that paper, referencing the article’s title and date.

Your letter will usually be edited, with or without your final approval. Be sure to include your full name, your city, your organization, and your contact information so the paper can call or email you to verify that you are the author.

Below are some sample letters that GSI’’s staff has published.

 

Sample Letter 1

The New York Times
Saturday, June 17, 2000

Building a Missile Shield, Holes and All

To the Editor:

In June 15 front-page articles, you report on both legal approval of a limited missile shield and the United States’ plans to drop sanctions against North Korea.

Proponents of national missile defense say that the North Koreans are a looming nuclear threat, and that we must spend $60 billion to stop missiles they don’t even have.

Yet the United States is planning to lift sanctions on North Korea because the Korean leadership showed vision and courage; because it stopped testing its missiles and took diplomatic steps that worked.

So why do timid Democrats and hawkish Republicans still say we need this technologically unsound missile shield when it will risk starting a new arms race with Russia and China?

The wise course is to seek complete elimination of nuclear weapons, something the United States has promised for 30 years with little progress.

ZACHARY ALLEN
San Francisco, June 15, 2000
The writer is program coordinator at the Global Security Institute.

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Sample Letter 2

The New York Times
Monday, August 13, 2001

Our Best Defense

To the Editor:

Conservatives and liberals alike should be wary of the alarmist rhetoric of Americans for Missile Defense (news article, Aug. 6). The coalition’s spokesman, Jeffrey Baxter, suggests that we need a missile defense rather than diplomacy: “When I look at people in North Korea, Libya, Iraq and Iran, understand folks, these folks don’t sit around and watch ‘Seinfeld’ and eat Milky Way candy bars all day.”

Is he suggesting that digesting American popular culture is a prerequisite for rational thought?
It is misleading to suggest that missile defense is an issue for conservatives to rally around. America prides itself on values of freedom and democracy, and assisting, rather than bullying, other countries. A better defense is to strengthen trust and cooperation among people and countries.

ZACHARY ALLEN
Program Director
Global Security Institute
San Francisco, Aug. 6, 2001

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Sample Letter 3

San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, July 22, 2001

Don’t deploy missile shield

Editor – Michael Kelly’s op-ed column (“Star Wars bullet can hit a bullet,” July 18) asserts that missile defense is attainable, and asks “. . . then why in the world should we not want to attain it?”

Contrary to Mr. Kelly’s assertions, a missile shield would decrease our security. Although administration officials may view the ABM treaty as outdated, Russia and China do not, and their leaders have indicated they would respond by strengthening their nuclear arsenals.
Reckless U.S. unilateralism would erode international law, fuel nuclear proliferation and spark a new arms race, this time in space.

A better way is to honor and strengthen our treaty commitments and move toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.

BENJAMIN COATES
Global Security Institute
San Francisco

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Sample Letter 4

San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, September 19, 2001

The real war against terrorism

Editor — Amid talk of declaring war against terrorism (‘U.S. ultimatum to Taliban,” Sept. 17), there has been little discussion of the political fights that must be won to assure victory.
One battle that we cannot afford to lose is the struggle to end proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. As tragic as Tuesday’s attacks were, we must face the terrible truth that if the terrorists had acquired and used nuclear weapons, casualties might have been measured in millions instead of thousands.

If the United States is serious about defeating terrorism, we must take the lead in international efforts to inventory and control weapons-grade nuclear material, strengthen the chemical weapons control regime, fully support Russia’s nonproliferation efforts and return to negotiations toward a strong and workable biological weapons convention. Let Tuesday’s tragedy be a call to action to ensure that an attack of this scale will never again occur.

CARL ROBICHAUD
Global Security Institute
San Francisco

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Newspaper e-mail addresses

Akron Beacon Journal [email protected]

Arizona Republic [email protected]

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette http://www.ardemgaz.com/info/voices.html

Asbury Park Press [email protected]

Atlanta Constitution http://www.accessatlanta.com/partners/ajc/letters/lettersc.html

Atlanta Journal http://www.accessatlanta.com/partners/ajc/letters/lettersj.html

Austin American-Statesman [email protected]

Bergen County Record [email protected]

Boston Herald [email protected]

Buffalo News [email protected]

Chicago Daily Herald [email protected]

Chicago Sun-Times [email protected]

Chicago Tribune [email protected]

Cleveland Plain Dealer [email protected]

Columbia State [email protected]

Contra Costa (CA) Times http://www.hotcoco.com/contact_us/letters.htm

Daily News (New York) [email protected]

Dayton Daily News [email protected]

Denver Rocky Mountain News [email protected]

Detroit Free Press [email protected]

Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel http://www.sun-sentinel.com/services/letters_editor.htm

Fort Worth Star-Telegram [email protected]

Fresno Bee http://www.fresnobee.com/man/opinion/letters.html

Grand Rapids Press http://gr.mlive.com/about/letter/

Hartford Courant [email protected]

Huston Chronicle [email protected]

Indianapolis Star-News [email protected]

Kansas City Star [email protected]

Las Vegas Review-Journal [email protected]

Lexington Herald-Ledger [email protected]

Los Angeles Times [email protected]

Memphis Commercial Appeal [email protected]

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel http://www.jsonline.com/news/editorials/submit.asp

Minneapolis Star Tribune [email protected]

Nashville Tennessean [email protected]

New York Post [email protected]

New York Times [email protected]

Newsday [email protected]

Norfolk Virginian-Pilot [email protected]

Omaha World-Herald [email protected]

Orange County Register [email protected]

Orlando Sentinel [email protected]

Philadelphia Inquirer [email protected]

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [email protected]

Portland (OR) Oregonian [email protected]

Raleigh News & Observer [email protected]

Richmond Times-Dispatch [email protected]

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [email protected]

Sacramento Bee [email protected]

San Antonio Express-News [email protected]

San Diego Union Tribune [email protected]

San Francisco Chronicle [email protected]

San Jose Mercury News [email protected]

Seattle Post-Intelligencer [email protected]

St. Louis Post-Dispatch [email protected]

St. Paul Pioneer Press [email protected]

St. Petersburg (FL) Times [email protected]

Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ) [email protected]

Tacoma News Tribune [email protected]

The Baltimore Sun [email protected]

The Birmingham News [email protected]

The Boston Globe [email protected]

The Charlotte Observer [email protected]

The Cincinnati Enquirer http://enquirer.com/editor/letters.html

The Columbus Dispatch [email protected]

The Dallas Morning News http://dmnweb.dallasnews.com/letters/

The Denver Post [email protected]

The Des Moines Register http://www.desmoinesregister.com/letter.html

The Detroit News [email protected]

The Louisville Courier-Journal http://www.courier-journal.com/cjconnect/edletter.htm

The Miami Herald [email protected]

The Oklahoman http://www.oklahoman.com/?ed-writeus

The Palm Beach Post http://www.gopbi.com/partners/pbpost/info/mail.html

The Providence Journal [email protected]

The Salt Lake Tribune [email protected]

The Seattle Times [email protected]

The Tampa Tribune [email protected]

Toledo Blade [email protected]

Tulsa World [email protected]

USA Today [email protected]

Wall Street Journal [email protected]

Washington Post [email protected]

Wilmington News Journal [email protected]