Let Your Voice Be Heard!
Writing a letter to the editor of your local or regional paper is an easy way to spread the word about wild horses and the challenges they face. In addition to reaching the newspaper’s readers, such letters are routinely reviewed by the staff of state and federal lawmakers. In areas that are home to wild horses or burros, such letters may also persuade editors to devote more space to the story of wild horses.
Here are some tips for writing an effective letter and increasing the chances it will be run by your local or regional paper:
- Follow the newspaper’s guidelines. Information about how to submit a letter can usually be found on the newspaper’s opinion pages or on the opinion section of its website. If you can’t find directions, call the newspaper for help.
- Be sure to include your contact information your name, address, and phone number. Editors will often want to confirm that you live in the publication’s coverage area and that you are the one that wrote the letter, but they typically only print names and cities to accompany letters.
- Whenever possible, respond to a recent story, letter, or opinion piece in in the publication, and do so as soon as possible after the story’s publication.
- Keep your letter short, focused, and respectful. Use plain language. Abide by the newspaper’s word limit, which is often 150-200 words.
- Start the letter with a clear statement of the point that you wish to make, then build on that. Keep in mind that if letters are edited for brevity, editors typically cut from the bottom-up.
- Make your case: RTF’s website includes a variety of helpful resources to draw upon as you back up your opinion with facts and detail. RTF’s Wild on the Range Campaign, for instance, provides a variety of humane management alternatives to the current system of roundups and long-term holding.
- Mention relevant agencies or lawmakers by name. For instance, if you’re trying to persuade your Congressional representatives to support the SAFE Act to reduce the slaughter of horses, using a specific name will increase the chances his or her staff will see the message as they scan opinion pages within their district.
If your letter is printed by the newspaper, you can ensure that the message reaches lawmakers by sending them a copy. You can also increase its reach by sharing the link, if it’s published online, with your family, friends, and other social media followers.
If your letter is printed, please send RTF a copy as well by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.