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        info@allaboutsouthpark.com
Beacon Hill Blog     http://beaconhill.seattle.wa.us/email-us/
Bellevue Reporter http://www.bellevuereporter.com/contact_us/
Bellingham Herald   letters@bellinghamherald.com
Bellingham’s Western Front       admanager@su-spectator.com
Cascadia Weekly
Everett Herald    letters@heraldnet.com
Issaquah’s Eastside News                 news@isspress.com
Fife Free Press info@fifefreepress.net
Issaquah Reporter http://www.issaquahreporter.com/contact_us/
Kirkland Reporter http://www.kirklandreporter.com/contact_us/
Kitsap Sun
Lake City Live        lakecitylive@gmail.com
Mercer Island Reporter    http://www.mi-reporter.com/contact_us/
Madison Park Times     mptimes@nwlink.com
Ravenna Blog            rebecca@ravennablog.com
Renton Reporter http://www.rentonreporter.com/contact_us
Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/contact/
Tacoma Weekly http://www.tacomaweekly.com/info/contact_us/
Tri-City Herald http://www.tri-cityherald.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/submit-letter/
Tacoma News-Tribune   http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/submit-letter/
University Place Press   matt@tacomaweekly.com
Vancouver Columbian    http://www.columbian.com/lettertotheeditor/
Yakima Herald   https://www.yakimaherald.com/site/forms/online_services/letter_editor/
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin        https://www.union-bulletin.com/site/forms/online_services/letter_editor/
Wenatchee World   http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/opinion/submit/
Wedgewood View tips@wedgwoodview.com
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