Write A Letter!

ORD2 Indivisible encourages everyone to voice their opinions to the local media. You can do this by writing a Letter to the Editor (LTE) or a longer Op-Ed or Guest Opinion. Here is how to get started.

PICK ONE ISSUE

  • What inspires or motivates you? Health Care? Climate Change? Public Lands? The treatment of Veterans? Be specific.
  • Narrow it down if you can. The best argument is a narrow one.
  • Pick something personal. How does this issue affect your family? Your job? Your future? Think about the story you have to tell.

KNOW THE GUIDELINES

  • Most newspapers limit LTEs to once a month.
  • The frequency of Op-Eds or Guest Opinions depends on the editor. If you want to write one for our local newspapers, the Medford Mail Tribune or the Ashland Daily Tidings, it’s always best to contact Editorial Page Editor Gary Nelson first to see if he is interested in it before you do too much work. The Mail Tribune prefers local authors who focus on local issues. The Tidings accepts op-eds from local folks on broader issues.

Remember: Every newspaper has a word limit. The Mail Tribune has the lowest count: 200. That’s something to shoot for! See the complete list below.

START WRITING!

  • Write a quick, one-sentence “mission statement:” My letter is about this. Post it next to your computer screen or tablet. Stick to it!
  • In true newspaper style, keep your sentences and your paragraphs short. Your letter may have complex ideas, but they should be told in simple sentences.
  • Think of the letter as having three parts:
    1. You need a “hook” — something to grab your reader’s attention. It should be a strong statement. Say why you are concerned, or what is bothering you, or exactly what you want your audience to know.
    2. Back up your statement with facts.
      • If you can include a personal story here, great!
      • Otherwise, support it with whatever facts you have.
      • Focus on one basic argument (maybe two). Make your point.
    3. Wrap up your letter with a direct ask. What do you want to happen?

POLISH YOUR WORK

  • Read what you’ve written out loud. A good letter will sound like you are talking to a neighbor over your kitchen table. Write like you speak. No need to get fancy.
  • Read it out loud to someone. Did they understand what you were trying to say? Did they follow your argument? Did you make them care?
  • Make sure these are your words. Editors don’t like it when you copy someone else.
  • Count your words. Don’t include the greeting or your name. How did you do? If you’re over, tighten it up. Otherwise, editors will do it for you and may change the meaning of your words.
  • Need feedback? Send your letter to our ORD2 Indivisible Writing & Research Team and we’ll tell you what we think: letters@ORD2Indivisible.org

WORKSHOPS

ORD2 Indivisible holds occasional workshops on writing letters and Op-Eds. We also have writers who can attend your small group — neighborhood potluck? Book club? — and guide you through the process. Contact us by email.

NEED FACTS?

The Internet is full of facts, but make sure your sources are reputable and your facts are real. If you are writing about Congressman Greg Walden, these sites have lots of good information about his voting record, his donors and where he stands on the issues.

Voter Scorecards:

Donors:

Issue Positions:

General Overview:

SEND YOUR LETTER

Always include your name, address, and telephone number so the editors can contact you if they wish to confirm you as the source. They will include your name, but not your contact information. Pick a newspaper where you live.

JACKSON COUNTY

Medford Mail Tribune: letters@mailtribune.com or via website – limit 200 words; political letters – limit 150 words; once per month. Op-Eds 750 words. The Mail Tribune covers all of Jackson County.

Ashland Daily Tidings: tidingsopinion@dailytidings.com or via website — limit 250 words; political letters — limit 200 words; once per month. NOTE: Letters are limited to residents of Ashland and the surrounding area, such as Talent.

The Applegater: gater@applegater.org Limit for letters is 400 words, for opinion columns 700.

Rogue River Press: editor@rogueriverpress.com. Letters limit 300 words; 30-day frequency limit.

Rogue Valley Messenger: info@roguevalleymessenger.com limit 250 words; published bi-weekly or via website

Rogue Valley Community Press: editor@rvcommunitypress.com limit 400 words – more than that it becomes a guest column; published quarterly.

Upper Rogue Independent [serving Eagle Point, White City, Prospect, Trail, Butte Falls]: editor@urindependent.com Limit unknown, suggest 200.

JOSEPHINE COUNTY

Grants Pass Daily Courier: letters@thedailycourier.com limit 250 words; once per month. This paper seems to have a policy of publishing letters only from residents in their perceived circulation area.

OTHER ORD2 COUNTIES:

Baker City Herald: news@bakercityherald.com No limit identified.

Bend Bulletin: letters@bendbulletin.com Letters 250 word limit, once per 30 days. Requires submissions to be original and only submitted to the Bend Bulletin. Ths may take a little reworking of the text to make it unique.

Burns Times Herald: editor@btimesherald.com No limit identified.

East Oregonian (Pendleton/Hermiston): webpage submission Fewer than 400 words.

Klamath Falls News and Herald: news@heraldandnews.com Limit 250 words; frequency limit unknown but suspect monthly.

La Grande Observer: news@lagrandeobserver.com No limit identified.

If you have other newspapers to suggest for this list, please send an email to: letters@ORD2indivisible.org

OTHER MAJOR NEWSPAPERS:

The Oregonian: letters@oregonian.com limit 250 words – In My Opinion columns are limited to 500 words commentary@oregonian.com

Eugene Register Guard: Letters and opinion columns regarding state or regional issues: Jackman Wilson jack.wilson@registerguard.com. Letter length limit is 250 words; all letters are subject to condensation. Writers are limited to one letter per calendar month. Guest viewpoints are between 600 and 800 words in length, with 700 being ideal.

The Salem Statesman Journal: webpage submission or letters@StatesmanJournal.com Letters 200 words or fewer.

IF YOUR LETTER IS PUBLISHED

Let us know!

  • Send an email to us at letters@ORD2Indivisible.org.
  • Post a link in our Facebook ORD2 Discussion Group.
  • Share it on your own page and inspire your friends.

If you have any other questions or suggestions, please contact us — and thanks for being a voice for ORD2 Indivisible!