Tips and best practices on writing a letter to the editor

What is a Letter to the Editor?

A Letter to the Editor is a short comment on any article published in the paper or topic of interest that a reader submits for possible publication. The Daily Courier allows local letters up to 250 words. Other correspondence, news tips, complaints or customer service issues should not be submitted via the letter to the editor form. Due to the volume of letters we receive, it isn't possible to publish all submissions. Those selected for publication are a representative sampling of the letters received. Writers of letters selected for publication will generally be contacted for confirmation. Letters may occasionally be edited and shortened for space.

How to submit a Letter to the Editor

Use this online form to submit letters, or mail letters to “Readers Speak” at 8307 E. Highway 69, Suite B, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314. Readers also may email submissions to Writers must include their name, city of residence and phone number to allow The Courier to verify authorship. Under no circumstances will The Courier publish unsigned letters.

10 tips to improve your chances of getting your Letter to the Editor published

  1. Be concise. Keep your letter short. Fewer than 250 words is best. Even shorter letters have a better chance for publication due to space constraints on any given day.
  2. Be timely. Comment on recent articles and current topics.
  3. Be specific. Focus on the one most important thing you want to say. We will edit for length, clarity and punctuation the best we can, but concise and clear will win the day.
  4. Be local. Because we are a community news company, letters about local issues will get priority over national issues. Letters about national issues will run on a standby basis and may not publish at all if the volume of local topic letters causes the national letters to become outdated or untimely.
  5. Be aware. Educate yourself by reading the opinion page to see what gets accepted. If your words are civil, funny, show wisdom and common sense, pointed, emotive, polite and accurate on diverse subjects, you have dramatically increased your chances of getting your letter published. If you are name-calling, mean-spirited, list-making, dull, redundant, incendiary, threatening or inaccurate, you wasted your time sending us a letter.
  6. Be prepared. Support your arguments. It you have additional information to strengthen or prove your claims you can include it as a separate note, but put it outside of the text of your letter.
  7. Be genuine. Always sign your letter and include your city of residence and phone number. No pseudonyms, please.
  8. Be selective. Due to the enormous amount of mail we receive an individual letter writer may publish only one letter in any 30-day period.
  9. Be prudent. We do not publish open letters, poetry or third-party letters. There are also other types of letters we will not publish, such as letters that cross a legal line or attack an individual or business in a private dispute.
  10. Be interesting. And don't give up. If we do not accept a particular letter, try again using the tips above.

Final note: We work to publish a cross-section of the local letters we receive, including those that disagree with our views. If it seems there are more letters for or against a particular topic, it's only because they represent the letters we are receiving at that time. If you feel a voice is missing, add yours by submitting a letter.