So why write a letter to the editor if it won’t get printed anyway?
— Says who? And so what if it didn’t get printed?
Some thoughts I gathered after submitting five letters and (luckily) getting three of them published in the past month-and-a-half:
- It’s our right (and even duty) to write such letters. That way, we’ll be helping our democratic system work better; we’ll become part of the social discourse that aims to achieve truth and justice for all. I know it sounds academic, but it’s true.
- It’s a way of letting media know we care — about them, about the issues they talk about, and about the people concerned. Buying their paper (or reading their website) is one thing, but giving feedback is another — and something higher and nobler.
- Your idea might be unique and could contribute a great deal in discussing the issue you write about.
- Three things can happen after sending your letter: (a) it gets published, (b) it doesn’t get published, or (c) it gets published after a loooong while. So just be sincere and send your letter — then forget about it. Give yourself the surprise of seeing your name on the paper on a rainy Tuesday morning.
- Don’t worry too much about grammar and spelling — that’s the editors’ job (though I don’t recommend “non-revision” of your own work either; so revise, rewrite, refine before sending). And focus instead on brevity, accuracy, coherence, and sound judgment. You can even let your friend read your letter first, to see if it has errors.
- If your letter doesn’t get published, at least editors get to read it. If you speak the truth and they are humble to recognize it, you’ll have attained your aim.
- Some media outlets can be hostile and will assert themselves as the Big Boss, especially if you criticized them. Never fear: you were sincere and fair in your letter, right? –Then learn to forgive them; forgiveness is the sweetest “revenge”.
- You have no idea how many people read the Letters section. As long as you side with reason, people will also side with you.
- Write about the good things, too, especially the exceptional ones. Journalists also deserve our congratulations. Well, some of them.
- And keep those letters coming! –Even if you have to say the same thing (though in different ways). Because people tend to forget easily. We have to embark on a crusade of repeating, repeating, repeating timeless truths.
*With inputs from eHow articles
Photo by Bulldogza