Letters to the Editor have always been a popular feature in American newspaper and are among the most-read sections. You can be confident that elected officials, or their staff members, will read your letter. Letters to the Editor are free, relatively easy to submit, and can be effective way of influencing public opinion.
Writing Your Letter
- Follow the newspaper’s guidelines for length. Ideally, your letter will be shorter than 150 words.
- Use the Patient Privacy Rights “Talking Points” for assistance.
- Make sure your letter is timely. Try to tie your point to a recent news item, editorial, letter or event involving health privacy.
- Keep it simple. Avoid using complicated sentences and big words.
- Avoid personal attacks, offensive language and political name-calling (e.g, “far right,” or “liberal”). Such language will turn off the average reader.
Submitting Your Letter
- If possible submit your letter by email (preferred) or by fax. Newspapers typically list on their editorial pages or Web sites the postal and email addresses for submitting letters to the editor.
- Be sure to include your contact information so that the newspaper can verify that you sent the letter.
- Clip your letter and the header of the page on which it is printed including at least the name of the newspaper and the date. Then photocopy the letter and header together on one page and fax your copies to your elected officials. Include a personal note indicating that you are a constituent.
- Email Patient Privacy Right informing us that your letter has been published.