Write your Letter to the Editor

Start a dialogue in your community by submitting a letter-to-the-editor to your local or regional newspaper.  Here are some tips, talking points and instructions for submission to the larger state papers.

Climate Talking Points:

  • State the Problem:
    • Global warming is happening now. Even here in Vermont storms like Irene are coming more frequent.
    • Global warming is quite simply the biggest problem we face today. Severe weather is already impacting communities around the world.
  • Outline Solutions:
    • Vermont has a responsibility to be part of the solution by reducing our dependence on polluting and expensive fossil fuels.
    • We have the solutions we need today – from using less energy through efficiency and conservation to getting our energy from local renewable sources.
  • Highlight Opportunities:
    • Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels will not only leave a better Vermont for our kids tomorrow, it will save Vermonters money today.
    • Vermont has chipped away at our carbon pollution, but our elected officials have back away from ambitious energy legislation that will actually move us forward.
  • Sum it Up:
    • Now is the time for Vermont to take bold action to reduce global warming pollution.

Tips on writing letters to the editor:

Media outlets can sometimes get hundreds of letters each day, especially if there is a hot or contentious issue in debate. Here are a few tips that will ensure that your letter rises to the top of the pile.

Keep it short and to the point

Most newspapers only print letters that are 250-300 words long. Going over a newspaper’s limit will likely mean your letter won’t be published.  Short and to the point is better – jump right in and tackle the subject matter head on.

Tell your story

Readers will connect with a personal story better than they will a letter that’s just dry facts.  Personal stories that connect to a political issue are best (i.e. your experience at the climate march).  Use reputable facts or statistics to support your anecdotes.

No jokes or attacks

Unless you are a professional comedian, jokes or gimmicks in letters to the editor usually don’t work. Stick to your story and the facts, but don’t sound stuffy or preachy.

Include all your contact information

Newspapers often need to verify that the letters are genuine, so include your full name, town of residence and your daytime phone number. Also, if you have a title that relates to the subject matter of the letter, such as being the owner of a local business or the executive director of an organization, include that under your name at the bottom of the letter. Be ready to pick up your phone, as the news outlets usually call back within a day or two.

Make it easy

Email is the preferred way to send in the letter. Don’t include it as an attachment; paste it right into the body of the email. Be sure to include a subject header that notes this is a letter to the editor and what the subject matter is (Ex- “Letter to editor: Vermont Legislators Must Take Bold Climate Action”).

Where to submit letters to the editor:

(Note: Be sure to include your name, address & phone #)

Burlington Free Press: email letters@burlingtonfreepress.com
Times Argus: submit online at http://timesargus.com/section/INFO0302
Rutland Herald: submit online at http://rutlandherald.com/section/INFO0302
Bennington Banner: email news@benningtonbanner.com
Brattleboro Reformer: email news@reformer.com
Seven Days: submit online at http://www.7dvt.com/feedback
Valley News: submit online at http://input.vnews.com/vnews/letter.php
Addison County Independent: submit online at http://www.addisonindependent.com/200707letter-editor

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