Reprinted with permission from ACT NOW

Writing a Letter to the Editor

A key strategy of a letter to the editor, or any op-ed letter, is to present a simple action item as a part of a solution.  Catch your audience’s interest with an informative story that ends with a clear demand for action.

  • Identify the problem ( include observations or cite other sources):
    “According to the Weather Underground, Seattle used to get 3 days a year of 90 degree weather. In 2015 we got 12 days, and in 2016, we started with a heat wave in early June.”
  • Examine possible outcomes, and how tackle the problem (call to action):
    “It’s obvious that we need to act now to tackle climate change and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.  That’s why I’m asking my legislator to pass a carbon tax this session. You can help by calling or writing your legislator. It’s our future, and now is the time to act! “
  • Provide some information (in case the audience wants to learn more):
    “There are multiple carbon tax bills in the legislature, which means we can act now to put a price on carbon.  Read more about HB 1646, SB 5127, SB 5385, or SB 5930 and their impact by going online, or reading the legislative review from Audubon WA or 350 Seattle.”

Tip # 1: Shorter submissions are more likely to be accepted (check submission requirements). Most letters are between 300 – 500 words.  You can submit different versions of the same letter to other journals or newspapers.  If you get published, email us and we will give you a shout-out in the next email blast!

Tip # 2:  Your story should be relevant to the local area of the newspaper.  Newspapers want letters with timely and relatable issues.  You can make it relatable also by including a personal story about why this matters to you.

Tip # 3:  If you aren’t published, don’t worry.  There are other ways to share your letter.  Check out Citizen Climate Lobby’s resources for writing letters to legislators, including a very useful tool to write to your representative directly.  You can also share it on social media, and use #waleg to reach our Washington state legislature!

Places to Publish

To find a place to publish your letter, use the short list provided below, or check out a complete list of Washington state newspapers here.   Click on each name to go to the website, and check for any submission guidelines.  Blogs, bulletins, and neighborhood journals are great alternatives; no media outlet is too small!

All About South Park Blog
Beacon Hill Blog
Bellevue Reporter
Bellingham Herald
Bellingham’s Western Front
Cascadia Weekly
Everett Herald
Issaquah’s Eastside News       
Fife Free Press
Issaquah Reporter
Kirkland Reporter
Kitsap Sun
Lake City Live
Mercer Island Reporter
Madison Park Times
Ravenna Blog  
Renton Reporter
Seattle Times
Tacoma Weekly
Tri-City Herald
Tacoma News-Tribune
University Place Press
Vancouver Columbian
Yakima Herald
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Wenatchee World
Wedgewood View
Whatcom Watch