1. Chose a topic you are passionate about. Some ideas include:
- Thanking a legislator for support on a recent bill
- Research funding
- Accessibility issues in your town
- Volunteer recognition
- Medicare wheelchair coverage
- Generic drugs
2. Before you write a letter to the editor, it is important to be well informed on the topic you wish to discuss. Read your paper or watch the news each day to stay informed about current events. Click here for resources on MS related topics.
3. Sign up for MS Action Alerts so you are aware of what legislation is pending on a federal level. Being able to tie your topics to a current event increases the chances of your letter being published.
Tips for a Successful Letter to the Editor
1. Use email to send your letter. This is the quickest way to get it seen and allows for timely publication. Find the newspaper email address on the editorial page. Be sure to include your full name, address and phone number on your submission.
2. When possible, refer to a current news item (such as the name of a particular piece of legislation) or article (title and date published) in the first sentence of your letter. This makes your letter more relevant both to the editor and readers who may read your published letter.
3. Be brief. Letter should be no longer than 4 paragraphs of about 3 sentences each.
4. Write with passion, but be sure to back up your statements with facts.
5. Constructive criticisms of elected officials, community leaders and others are fine, but avoid personal attacks - comments such as these will not be published.
6. Be proud of your views on a topic. Be sure to include your name, address and phone number with your letter. Anonymous letters are rarely printed.
7. Follow the guidelines of the paper. Most papers list length restrictions or other requirements on the editorial page. Following the guidelines increases the chances that your paper will be published.
8. Never miss the chance to thank a public official, community leader or volunteer group for a job well done.
Once you Have Shared your Opinion
1. Watch the paper closely to see if your letter gets published.
2. If your letter has not been published within one week of submission, a brief reminder email to the editor is a good idea. See if there are plans to publish it or if there was a guideline you had not followed. These follow-up emails (or calls) can be very effective.
3. Once your letter has been published, please call or email Jessica Bradley. The Alabama - Mississippi Chapter is extremely proud of all volunteer and grassroots efforts, so we'd like the chance to recognize you for your hard work!