UConn Advocates encourages members to submit a letter to the editor or an op-ed to their local newspaper. Both are very effective ways to increase public awareness about the importance of supporting UConn.
Writing a Letter to the Editor
The most effective way to get a letter to the editor published is to respond quickly to a specific story. As a regular reader of the newspaper, look for any article to which you can draw a link to the issue. Your letter may be edited, so realize from the onset that you should be concise, to the point, and as clear in your statement as possible. If responding to an article, include a few passionate comments about why you agree or disagree with the article.
Be sure to:
- Mention the article or a newsworthy issue to which you are responding.
- Refer to a local figure connected with the university.
- Provide data on the issue from a reliable source or responsible person.
- Keep letters to the editor brief -- less than 250 words.
- As in other opportunities for communicating your position, state your case through positive, not argumentative, language.
- Proofread, then proofread again. Find out the preferred or optional delivery methods (fax, e-mail, or mail) available to submit the letter.
- Address the letter to "letters to the editor" at the address of the paper's main office, unless the editorial page directions specify otherwise.
- Be sure to include your name, address, home and business phone numbers and sign the letter. Papers will verify with you that you sent the letter before running it.
- Watch the paper for approximately 2-3 weeks to see if your letter gets printed. If it does,
Don't be discouraged if your letter is not printed. Not all letters are accepted. If you follow up with a second letter, you have doubled your chances for it to be printed.
Tip: Get others to write about the same issue. The more a paper hears from people on an issue, the more likely it is they will print a response.
Writing an Op-Ed
An Op-Ed is an opportunity for you to get your opinion printed in the paper. Short for "opposite editorial," Op-Eds are usually 750 - 1,000 words articles that appear adjacent to the editorial page.
- Op-Eds vary on topics, but most relate to topical issues of interest to the readers.
- Be certain of any data or references you make in the text.
- As with other written materials, have peers read the article for clarity and accuracy. As with any written materials -- proofread, proofread, proofread.
- Send the Op-Ed with a cover letter explaining your purpose in writing the piece.
- Be prepared to edit the article as requested. Send the article to only one paper.
- If the first paper you choose doesn't run your Op-Ed, try a weekly newspaper or specialized publication (newsletter, community paper, alumni magazine, or others).
- Watch the paper for approximately 2-3 weeks to see if your Op-Ed gets printed. If it does,