Shape Key Opinions

Ready to write an effective letter to the editor?

This toolkit provides you with six clear and easy ways to talk about the value of the arts and sciences with policymakers and the media. With just a few minutes of your time, you can transform these talking points into a letter to the editor (LTE) for your local newspaper.

Why should you take time to write a letter to your local paper? LTEs can help readers of your local newspaper gain new insights and encourage them to take some action when needed.


Here are some tips and suggestions for crafting a well-written letter to the editor:

  • Make sure to check the word count limit for your paper before you start writing your letter. Typically, papers accept contributions of 150 words or less, but submission guidelines vary by paper.
  • Respond to an article that appears in the newspaper within three days.Timeliness counts. 
  • Convey one main idea. Short sentences, short paragraphs, and simple words work best.
  • Keep your letter positive. It is more persuasive to emphasize your key points and what actions you would like to see taken.
  • Send an original letter. It’s generally frowned upon to send the same LTE to multiple papers.
  • Target your letters to readers in your local area by emphasizing how this issue might appeal to them.
  • Include your name, address and phone number. Typically, newspapers will contact writers to confirm authorship.

Need Help?

Phi Beta Kappa is happy to assist you if you would like help responding to an article in your local newspaper. If possible, include a link to the original article when you contact us about an opportunity.


You are key to this movement.

There are quick and simple ways to help.