Letters to the editor - make your voice heard
Tasmania’s newspapers are great places to have your voice heard on the matters that mean most to you, especially planning matters! Below are some letter writing tips to help get you started when writing a letter to the editor:
- Write the letter as an email. Do not send it as an attachment.
- There are three major newspapers in Tasmania, The Mercury in Hobart, The Examiner in Launceston and The Advocate in northwest Tasmania. Below are the email addresses for their respective Letters to the Editor sections:
The Mercury - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Examiner - email@example.com
The Advocate firstname.lastname@example.org
- Always use the subject line Letters to the Editor.
- Keep the letter short and to the point. Try not to waffle or repeat what you are saying.
- Try to incorporate some wry humour into the letter or a simple phrase to which people can relate.
- Always write from the heart. A passionate letter has a much greater chance of being published.
- Always attempt to write the letter on the same day an issue makes headlines, don’t wait until the next day - it may be too late.
- It is a good idea to reference your subject matter. Note the headline of the story you are referring to, the newspaper's name and the date the story was published. For example, "...as published in the Mercury, July 11, under the headline 'City skyscrapers would shadow Hobart's beautiful waterfront'.
- Try to get your point across in as polite a manner as possible. While politicians can be irritating, being rude about them in print doesn't work.
- Don’t use too many phrases set in punctuation e.g. () or “ ".
- Don’t let your sentences be too long or too short!
- Check grammar, spelling and punctuation before sending your letter to the editor, then check it again.
- Ensure long words or words not commonly used are spelt correctly and presented in the right context.
- Check and recheck facts and quotes.
- Always include your full name, address and telephone number at the end of the letter.
- Expect that some “clever Harry” will get your phone number and may ring to congratulate or abuse you.
- Expect rejections and just keep plodding on with the letters.
- Expect rebuttals by other letter writers.
- Expect people you know and others to comment on your letters (favourably or not).
- Good luck and don’t despair if your letter isn’t published. The next one may be!