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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.