Pointers

Experience has shown that hard copy letters can be more effective than e-mail which is often used by media outlets as a polling device without significant response, if any. Hard copy letters are often taken more seriously because they indicate time, effort and expense, especially if marked "not for publication." a piece of paper can be passed around an office, taken to a meeting--and paper must be physically thrown away which takes a slightly more conscious effort than hitting a button to trash an electronic message or sending an automated reply.

If you have additional addresses/fax numbers, etc. to suggest, please e-mail us at: editor@AmericanReview.net

If you want e-mail, click on the following link for a comprehensive list of nearly 900 e-mail addresses of media outlets.

Writing "letters to the editor" is one thing. Letters to the editor come in by the thousands and are often not taken very seriously by news managers who assume you're not really talking to them but to readers. They are often viewed as readers' or viewers' personal opinions on issues. Having a letter appear in print may seem like impact but it's limited in terms of impact upon the editors/management of the news outlet itself. What you say to readers is ignored by news managers, even critiques of media practices. What you say to newsmakers themselves -- "not for publication" -- can hit home.

In writing directly to reporters, columnists and news managers, you are addressing how the media operate, what they cover, how they cover it, and how newswriters think. In this case, the issue is about the news media themselves.

Be cool, astute, professional, succinct, and persistent. Analyze rather than rage. One trick is to write a first draft that includes any insults or nasty comments you feel like slinging. Then edit the letter to take out the insults and keep your essential strong points made in a courteous manner in your final draft. Put yourself in the position of the intended recipient(s) and write a letter you would want to receive. This way you have a chance of getting your letter read by a an editor or news manager. Buy a roll of stamps and write once or twice a month if you can--to various media outlets. Be calmly persistent. It can make a difference.

We used to ask American Review readers to send us copies of their letters but our Media Discussion Center is in hiatus at the moment. Send copies to FAIR.

See A Few Steps Toward Media Activism