Tips for Writing Letters to the Editor

Key Facts About Initiative 1631

We deeply appreciate your willingness to help us defeat Initiative 1631, the $2.3 billion unfair energy tax that would be paid for by Washington families, consumers and small businesses in the form of higher prices for electricity, natural gas, home heating costs and gasoline on the November statewide ballot.

There are many ways you can help. In particular, writing a letter to the editor is a great way to shape public opinion by getting the facts about 1631 out to voters and encouraging others to learn more and strengthen their decision to vote NO to defeat I-1631.

Our campaign has strong messages that we know help Washington voters understand the impact I-1631 will have on them and the state. Those messages are detailed in our Fact Sheet that can be read or downloaded here. When you begin to write down your own reasons for opposing 1631, here are some basic tips that will help ensure your letter has the best chance for getting published in your local paper and other papers throughout the state.

  • Editors prefer to publish timely, concise letters – especially those that respond to an article, editorial, or other letter that appeared in the newspaper. Look for stories in your paper on Initiative 1631, or stories that address related topics (state budgets, government spending, etc.).
  • Before writing your letter, review the newspaper’s policy on letters to the editor. It is frequently available on the newspaper’s website under the Opinion tab.  We have attached letter policies for some of the state’s major newspapers as examples.
  • Submit letters by e-mail. Most newspapers prefer receiving letters that way and list the e-mail address or have an online submission form for letters on the newspaper’s website.
  • Keep your letter as short as possible by focusing on one, or at most two, major points. Support your position with facts or other evidence, and share your story about why you care.  Stay under the paper’s word limit.  Aim for no more than 200-250 words.
  • You must include your name, street address and phone number. Editors are on guard about fake identities and will often contact you to verify that you wrote your letter. They will not run anonymous letters. The editorial pages exist to offer a cross section of community opinion. Editors are most likely to publish letters on issues that are important to their readers.
  • Send letters to weekly community newspapers, not just the big city dailies. The smaller the newspaper’s circulation, the easier it often is to get your letter printed.
  • Finally, let us know if your letter has been published. Email a copy to [email protected].

Washington Newspapers Serving Your Community and Submission Guidelines

Use the interactive map to locate the newspapers serving your city, town or community. Click on a pin to find out specific details about letter to the editor submissions. Or scroll down the page for a listing of Washington newspapers and written guidelines.

Submission Guidelines for Washington Newspapers