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How to write a letter to the editor

letter-447577_640If there’s a local or regional newspaper in your area, they’re probably desperate for good-quality letters to the editor.

These papers often have a huge reach, and are a great way of raising awareness about ME/CFS and letting people know that there are research charities that they can donate to.

So if there’s a big ME/CFS story in the media, or if you’re creating some ME/CFS news yourself, write to the letters page of your newspaper about it!

Top tips:

  • Keep it short. 300 words or fewer is best.
  • Get to the point. Editors cut for length from the bottom up, and readers get bored from the top down. Get your main points across in the first paragraph.
  • Make it relevant to a news story: “Dr Brilliant has just published research in Nature showing that…” or “My brother is kayaking to the Antarctic to raise money for ME/CFS…”
  • If it’s a national or international story, make it local. For example, you could say, “Here in Anytown, over 200 people suffer from ME/CFS.” To get rough figures for the number of ME/CFS patients in your newspaper’s local area, multiply its population by 0.002 (or divide by 1,000 and multiply by 2).
  • Make it personal. It helps to get your letter accepted. But if you don’t want to say in the letter that you have ME/CFS for privacy reasons, use a phrase such as, ‘as anyone whose life has been touched by this disease knows’, or ‘having seen this disease close up’.
  • Don’t rant. If you do, it’s very unlikely that you’ll get published.
  • Give your full name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. Newspapers might withhold your name on request but they won’t print anonymous letters. They may call you to confirm that you wrote the letter before they publish.

Sign the petition to get ME/CFS a research budget of $250 million a year!
There's a US petition and a global solidarity petition here with a long-term target of 50,000 signatures. Time we were on an equal per-patient funding basis with similar diseases!