What is the letter to the editor?
It is one of the most important types of journalistic texts in this field, which, in turn, are part of the non-literary texts, which stand out particularly for their informative nature through different media. Among them, the letter to the editor is a type of letter in which the opinion of a magazine or newspaper reader is expressed and which is addressed to the editor.
The letter to the editor is a textual resource in which the opinion is expressed in relation to some current news, in most cases, although it can also address concerns, complaints and / or support a particular issue. They have the power to highlight the judgment before the public opinion.
Main characteristics of the letter to the editor
This type of text, which in addition to letter to the editor is also often called reader’s letter or plural, has the following characteristics:
Purpose of the letter to the editor
The purpose of this type of text can be very varied. Some of the purposes of the reader’s letter may be the denunciation of a serious situation or fact, a suggestion regarding the content or form of the media content, the persuasion and influence of public opinion, a special thanks for an issue, support for an event, event, group, etc., in a public way, defense of rights or situations that affect the community, expression of anger about an event, demonstration in complaint or protest, among others.
Means of publication
This type of journalistic text is usually published in physical media. In this way, it is a section that is enabled in media such as newspapers and magazines, according to their field of publication, whether they are media aimed at the national level in general, entertainment, informative or local.
Although it is a type of text that a publication will have and that in many cases may follow a certain structure, in reality it is a field in which the reader expresses his opinion in his own words. It is important to reduce the formal aspect as little as possible in order to make it more accessible to the reading and interest of the public, who are also interested in the subject on which it is developed.
Involvement of other readers
As mentioned above, one of the purposes of this type of text is usually related to the persuasion of the public on which the medium is focused or which is attracted by referring to a situation of general interest. That is why the letter to the editor implies, at the same time, the other readers of the media with respect to the influence that this type of texts can achieve, since they also take a position in relation to, through the argumentation made by the author.
Conditions for publication
It is essential to take into account that for the publication of this type of texts, letters to the editor must comply with a series of aspects in relation to the wording and information contained therein. In this way, the media indicates that for the publication of the letter it is necessary that it is not too long, although the number of lines may vary depending on the media, in addition to this it is necessary that it is properly formed and that it includes identification data such as address, ID number and telephone number.
Parts of the letter to the editor
One of the aspects that most distinguishes this type of text is related to the format or structure on which it is written, since it conceives a series of parts as if it were a formal letter structure. However, we know that according to the medium or structure of interest, some elements may vary. In general, it is possible to identify the following elements in most cases:
In this first part should be included the data that identifies the person issuing the letter to the editor, i.e., name and surname, address, telephone number and e-mail. In addition, the updated date, information regarding the medium and the section to which the evaluation is addressed and the content of the letter should also be included.
Body of the letter
In the central section of the letter to the editor there are three main parts. The first part is focused on the greeting sent by the writer of the letter to the editor of the media, in this case the magazine or newspaper to which the letter is addressed. The greeting does not necessarily have to be long.
The second part focuses on the reader’s opinion in relation to the topic or section to which the letter is particularly addressed. In this part, the writing should follow the exposition of the idea and judgment, followed by possible proposals and, if applicable, queries and concerns that the reader may wish to express. It is necessary to identify, if it is the case, the specific section, edition or other data of the situation that allow to recognize them more easily. The third part corresponds to the farewell in a couple of words in a polite and courteous manner.
Finally, the letter to the editor should include, after the farewell to the editor, the signature of the person issuing the letter. To this signature should be added the writing of the full name of the person sending the letter, followed by the place from which it is written and then the date.
Tips for writing a letter to the editor
Now, after knowing all the characteristics, functions and, in general, the constitution of a journalistic text like this, it is time to review some key aspects that should be considered when writing it and that will be decisive in the step for publication. Here we present them to you:
Brevity in the letter
It is very important to take care of the length of this type of text, since, as far as possible, it should not exceed large extensions. It is recommended to the person who issues the letter, the greatest precision in the writing and expression of his opinion, expressing the most important aspects and properly argued without falling into repetition or reiteration, aspects that could extend the writing of the letter.
It is suggested that the reader’s letter be written to include topics that correspond to current events, given that they are usually the central focus of interest and concern on the part of readers and, in general, of citizens. It is important to remember that in the development of the text reference should be made to that fact or article published in a concrete manner, therefore it is necessary to correctly review the dates of publication.
Courtesy and respect
The writing of a letter to the editor implies a special use of language in which the reader expresses himself in a respectful and polite way in the development of his exposition. It is very important to take care of courtesy in the writing of the text and to this extent, avoid disrespect, lack of argumentation, among other aspects.
The language used by the author should respond to a simple and clear language that is easy to understand and that includes the necessary terms of reference, because given the need for precision, this contributes to make the text much more concise in less space.
It is recommended that the author write his ideas in his own words instead of resorting to terms or formats that he does not know, as this detracts from the veracity of his opinion as a reader.
Real and honest information
It is very important that the reader is completely sincere with what he/she writes in the letter, since truthfulness is capable of convincing, and this is usually one of the aspects of interest of the writer given the exposure of the information in the media. The information you provide, as well as the arguments and data on the situation or element to which your opinion refers, must belong to reality.
The letter to the editor is characterized by having an argumentative character, since in this type of text the reader expresses his opinion entirely based on a specific fact or article. That is why this expression must be developed following the presentation of the arguments in an organized and sustained way in relation to the topic, where each of the reasons that constitute the position defended are presented.
On the other hand, a way to reinforce the argument is to add brief quotations from well-known people and figures in the area, so that the opinion can have a greater solidity, it is even possible to add statistics and data from authoritative sources.
To learn more about other types of journalistic texts, their characteristics, structures and more, remember that in our section of non-literary texts you can easily access them. We also invite you to continue learning more about the literary world in our section dedicated to this artistic field.