Getting Your Opinion Printed

The editorial section
Letters to the editor
Op-ed columns

The Editorial Section

The editorial section in your local newspaper is one of the best ways to get your opinions across to the public (voters) and to your elected representatives. There are three ways of expressing your viewpoint in this section: letters to the editor, editorials, and op-ed (opinion) columns. Whichever format you choose, make sure you have formulated your opinion clearly and concisely. Letters to national papers and magazines are important, too, for creating a climate for change, but may not have as much direct impact on your local officials. TOP

Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor are most likely to get printed if they respond (pro or con) to something which recently appeared in the publication such as another letter, a news story, an advertisement, etc. Below are a few guidelines to write a successful letter to the editor:


Editorials are the official opinion of the publication in which they appear, and are written by an editorial board or a single editorial writer (depending on the size of the paper). If the paper has an editorial board, each member probably has special subjects, which they write about. To request an editorial, which covers the forest protection issue, arrange to meet with the writer who specializes in environmental issues. You can go by yourself or in a small group made up of two or more community leaders who share your viewpoint. Keep the same things in mind during this meeting, as you would while lobbying a representative. Tell the writer why this issue is important and worthy of space in the paper, and follow up with a thank-you note as well as any addition information you promised. TOP

Op-Ed Columns

If your paper prints an editorial you disagree with, you can request space to express your opinion in a longer, more developed format. Unlike letters to the editor, newspapers exercise considerable editorial control over the op-ed section, so you must know the issue well and follow their guidelines carefully. You may be able to get an op-ed piece reprinted in several publications.

Now that the environment is covered more often in the news, there is a real need for environmental opinion columnists writing weekly opinion pieces for the mainstream papers. . TOP