LTE/Op-Ed Toolkit

Letter to Editor and Op-Ed Toolkit

What is an Op-Ed?

Op-eds (or “opposite editorial”) are articles devoted to commentary, feature articles, and opinions. Authors are not officially affiliated with the newspaper and can range from state legislators to local business owners and interested local citizens, like AAUW members! Op-eds must be approved by the editorial page or opinion page editor and will also be cleared by a copy editor. Editors usually put together their editorial calendars the month before, so getting your desired column into the paper without a newsworthy hook can be challenging. An op-ed may be a viable option for your desired content if

  • Your topic will be of interest to most of the paper’s readers.
  • You have something new, interesting, or unexpected to say.
  • You are writing about a larger theme that will not fit into 150 words or less.
  • Your piece will be relevant in a few weeks’ time (op-eds have a longer lead time before publishing).
  • You are willing to pitch your piece to the editors.

What is a Letter to the Editor?

Letters to the editor are usually written in direct response to an article, editorial, op-ed, or column that the target paper has printed. They can also be a reaction to or notification of a newsworthy event. They are printed on the editorial page, one of the most-read pages in the paper, making them an effective way of reaching a large audience in the community. Letters to the editor are also more likely to get published than an op-ed and can be published in a quicker turnaround than an op-ed. An LTE may be the best choice for your content if

  • Your topic has been mentioned in the paper recently, especially on the opinion page.
  • You have just one or two points that can be succinctly stated.
  • You can write a response to the topic mentioned in the paper within one to two days (LTEs have a faster publishing turnaround).

The purpose of this Toolkit is to serve as a resource for anyone wanting to write and submit to a publication an Opinion Editorial or Letter to the Editor regarding We Energies coal-fired power plants in Oak Creek. Whether you are a first-time or experienced OpEd/LTE writer, we hope you find this Toolkit to be helpful.