- Select a topic or a publication. If you are writing because you’ve been instructed to do so in a class assignment, you should start by reading a publication that is likely to contain articles that interest you. It is a good idea to read your local newspaper to look for local and current events that matter to you.
You may also choose to look in magazines that contain articles that interest you. Fashion magazines, science magazines, and entertainment publications all contain letters from readers.
- Read instructions provided. Most publications provide guidelines. Look over the first few pages of your publication for a set of suggestions and guidelines and follow them carefully.
- Include your name, address, email address and phone number at the top of your letter. Editors often require this information because they will need to verify your identity. You can state that this information is not to be published.
If you are responding to an article or letter, say so right away. Name the article in the first sentence of the body of your letter.
- Be concise and focused. Write your letter in pithy, clever statements, but remember that this easy to do! You will probably need to write several drafts of your letter to condense your message.
- Limit your writing to two or three paragraphs. Try sticking to the following format:
In your first paragraph, introduce your problem and sum up your objection.
In the second paragraph, include a few sentences to support your view.
End with a great summary and a clever, punchy line.
- Proofread your letter. Editors will ignore letters that contain bad grammar and poorly-written rants.
- Submit your letter by email if the publication allows it. This format enables the editor to cut and paste your letter.
Letter to the Editor from the Stop the Frack Attack Team
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as it is more commonly known, is becoming a major obsession in United States. Natural gas has been found in large quantities underneath parts of Pennsylvania, New York and dozens of other states. However, in order to access this source of fuel, oil and gas companies are using unproven drilling techniques that are doing more harm than good.
Though natural gas is a somewhat cleaner fuel than coal or gasoline, it still will continue to contribute to climate change and the rapid rate at which we are depleting our natural resources. And while proponents argue that fracking provides jobs for thousands of Americans, it remains to be seen how desirable these jobs are if employees can’t even get clean water in their homes near drilling sites. The water that is used in the fracking process has been proven to contain toxic chemicals that seep into groundwater reserves that local communities use in their homes. Many lawmakers have read these studies and yet they continue to allow companies to pass the negative costs on to American citizens.
The problem is that most Americans have never heard of fracking, even though it has been happening for decades. But with recent legislation in North Carolina and New York set to sharply increase the number of fracking wells across the country, more and more people will begin to be affected by contaminated water, chemical spills and air pollution.
We need to make fracking part of the national vocabulary. Just as we curbed the use of ozone depleting chemicals and BPA plastic, we need to make the public aware of this serious problem in order to fix it. One of the easiest ways to do this would be to organize national rallies like the one that is taking place in Washington DC this summer.
On July 28th 2012, thousands of protesters will descend on Capitol Hill to voice their displeasure with the “frack attack” that is sweeping our country. The rally, titled Stop the Frack Attack, is a call to action for the thousands of people and communities that are being affected by fracking. The four day event will include a day of lobbying to local representatives, a town hall style meeting and a rally and march on the Capitol. Over a thousand people have already signed up to be a part of the rally and more people are joining the fight every day.
Buses and housing have been made available for fractivists from out of town that want to support the cause. There will be speakers, live music and even a demonstration in front of the American Petroleum Institute. Stop the Frack Attack is sure to make news headlines across the nation, which will be the first step towards enlightening the public to the dangers of the fracking.
Much more work will need to be done after the rally to ensure that state and local governments acknowledge the potential risks of fracking. But attending the rally will be an important first step towards protecting our communities and health from the frack attack that is currently sweeping the nation.