Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for writing the media:
- Write legibly and be brief and to the point.
- Letters do not always have to be in response to an article; however, the likelihood of the letter being published is better.
- Check with your paper, radio/television station for word count/length of letters.
- Review past and archived stories to get ideas.
- Try to locate the designated reporter or editor for your topic. For example, if you are writing on a health issue, such as weight-loss, try to find the health editor or reporter.
- If possible, when sending your letter electronically, try sending it to the editor or reporter’s e-mail and not a standard e-mail, such as firstname.lastname@example.org unless otherwise stated by the news outlet.
- Write to more than one paper, television station, radio talk show or Internet news Web site.
- Use a Web site like www.congress.org to locate the different types of media in your area.
- Contact the editor or reporter you sent your letter to and make sure they received it. Remember to thank them for their time.
- Double check your information for accuracy.
- Use correct grammar and complete sentences.
- If typing your letter, remember to use a spell check feature.
- Include your personal story.
- Try not to be longwinded.
- Avoid a righteous tone.
- Do not threaten anyone.
- Do not demand anything from the newspaper, television station, radio talk show, etc…
- Avoid form letters.
- Do not assume that the reporter or editor is an expert on every issue.
- Do not get discouraged if your article is not published.
- Due to anti virus software rejecting e-mails with file attachments, type it in the body of the e-mail.
Below, please find a sample letter that describes in detail how to write the media.
Your Full Name
Your Full Address
Your City, State and Zip
Your Phone Number with Area Code
Editor or Reporter’s Name
Editor or Reporter’s Address
Editor or Reporter’s City, State, Zip
Dear Title (Editor, Reporter, Writer)
In your first paragraph, mention the following points:
1. You are writing to express your concern or support of a specific issue.
2. Discuss how this specific issue affects you and your family.
In your last paragraph, mention the following items:
1. Further elaborate how the issue affects or has affected you.
2. Share your personal connection with the issue in question. (Remember to remain brief. A short letter can accomplish just as much as a long one.)
Your Full Name