Youth PROMISE Act
Write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper!
By writing a Letter to the Editor, you can:
Tips on Writing a Letter to the Editor:
USE YOUR OWN WORDS Be sure to re-phrase and personalize any talking points you use so they are written in your own words. A paper is not likely to publish a letter if it receives multiple copies of virtually identical letters.
REFER TO A SPECIFIC ARTICLE OR NEWS EVENT Most published letters are written and framed as a direct response to an article that previously appeared in the publication, typically within the past 48 hours. When possible, frame your letter as a comment or critique of the previous article, and refer to it by title and date. (i.e. I am saddened to read about the recent school violence in our community, ("Title of Article," Date), but I am encouraged by the opportunity we have to do something about it: passing the Youth PROMISE Act…). While writing a letter that doesn't refer to a previous article may not get published, it can still create awareness for the paper to cover it in the future.
To find an article that you can refer to in your letter, visit the website of the publication you'd like to submit your letter to, and search using the following key words (within the last 48 hours): youth violence, gangs, prisons, incarceration, violence prevention, at-risk youth, juvenile justice, youth promise act
KEEP IT SHORT & PUNCHY Publications often edit by cutting from the bottom up, and you may have just 5 seconds to hook a reader, so keep it brief (100-200 Words), top-loaded and conversational. Use a catchy first line.
GET LOCAL & PERSONAL Editors love a local angle, eye-opening revelations and compelling personal stories, so consider including a glaring statistic or emotional story to show how the issue affects the reader or the community. Appealing to a person's self-interest resonates better than abstract points or raw data.
CREATE CRITICAL MASS The more letters a paper receives on a topic, the more likely it is to run at least one, or to include the topic in its news/editorial coverage. Team up with other supporters to write individualized letters to the same publication, but write no more often than once every two weeks.
Step 1 - Select a Recipient
You can write to more than one paper, but be sure to send unique letters. It's a big no-no to send the same letter to multiple papers, particularly in the same media market.