Tips for your Letter to the Editor

Main objectives: Get it published - Get it read - Share important information - “Win” your readers

Keep it brief- usually under 250 words. The Herald, for instance, generally will not print longer letters.
Your first two sentences are critical in terms of capturing the readers interest. Try not to ‘turn off’ the reader by being overly emotional or making non-credible statements. Rather, make these important sentences strong but demonstrate reason. For example, “I am deeply concerned about the possible construction of a motocross track near Granite Falls. My family has enjoyed recreating in the area for years and the noise generated by a complex of this type would end the peace and quiet that has drawn us there.”

You can lend greater credibility to your argument if you acknowledge the opposing viewpoint but then weaken it by offering valid points that counter. For example, “I agree that motocross can be a good family activity, but even family functions need to be conducted in places where they do not harm the environment or impact the quality of life for residents or wildlife.”

Try to offer new information that hasn’t been included in previous letters to the editor. This helps to retain reader interest and increases your chances of being published.

Don’t be discouraged if your letter doesn’t get published right away. Give it a week and then either resend the original or rewrite and resend.

Try and use terms such as “Promoter” when referring to the company that has submitted the proposal. Never attack the riders themselves- they didn’t choose the location and we need to try and NOT make them feel defensive. Defensive feelings may generate more letters to the editor in favor of the track.

Try and make at least one personal statement that demonstrates how the project will negatively impact yourself or others, e.g., “This motocross track complex will add unnecessary traffic hazards for the school buses using the Mt. Loop Highway.”

Give the readers a way to take action. For example, “Please email Councilman John Koster at John.Koster@co.snohomish.wa.us and voice your concern.”

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