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Public Communication: Letter to the Editor

Addressed to the Editor of a certain publication with the intent of complimenting, critiquing, informing, or communicating a certain piece of information.

Team Leverage EDU, Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor (LTE) are written when a reader wants to communicate their views, on a certain article to the editor of a publication.

Writing a Letter to the Editor

When writing a Letter to the Editor first you must know what to include and how it should be structured. Unlike a blog post, LTE's are written in a more formal and professional manner. 

Purpose of an LTE 

Readers of publications, such as magazines and newspapers are given the opportunity to write to the editor of such outlets. A few of these letters are chosen to be published on their sites for their readers. They give the general public the space to voice their opinions on a specific article they have just read.  

These four points summarise why you may write an LTE: 

  • Discuss controversial aspects of something recently published
  • Enrich the existing knowledge of the piece with an informed opinion.
  • Seek clarification on an aspect of something you’ve just read.
  • Share relevant professional viewpoints. 

Letters to the Editor should not only be critical but should add value to a topic and stimulate debate. 


An LTE is not lengthy and is about a specific article/journal entry in a recent publication.  

Be sure to read the article/journal entry thoroughly and note down any elements or points you can use for evidence and references.  

Do further research into the topic and use a few references to show your expertise as well as making your points credible. Try to keep the number of external references at a minimum, two or three would suffice.  

This is a more formal piece of writing, so keep a professional tone.  

A few tips before you start writing

Are you ready to start writing? If so, here are a few tips to remember whilst you’re writing to the Editor: 

  • Try to keep the letter formal, precise and to the point.
  • Be respectful.
  • Keep sentences relatively short and concise.
  • Always be courteous and polite even if you are writing a critique.
  • When writing a complaint, don’t rant or vent.
  • End with praising the outlet for how useful it is to the public, even if the only compliment you can think of is them giving the public a space to voice their opinions. Over critical letters may not be published.  



Introduce your points/opinions and sum up your reason for writing the letter. 

Include a few sentences to support your view using references that are cited correctly – Our Referencing Guide 

End by summarising your initial point and sign with your name. 

Get to your point early and don’t bury it in lengthy arguments and jargon, remember these letters aren’t only seen by the editor, but the readers of the publication.  

Our Paragraphing Guide will advise you on how to make your writing flow.  


Do stick to a strict word count. 

Do address the letter to the Editor. 

Do get straight to the point as an LTE is usually short. 

Do be professional in tone and your language, be formal. 

Do relate back to the article you are writing about. 

Do sign off with your name and location. 


Don't go over the word count as it may not get published due to the amount of space they have for letters. 

Don't be overly critical, you should be diplomatic whilst voicing your opinion.  

Don't tell them a great deal about yourself, only mention what’s relevant to the topic. 

Don't use informal language or overcomplicate your points.