Write an Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor

Have you seen news coverage/opinion pieces on Medicare for All that mischaracterize the issue, fearmonger about taxes, rationing, etc., or otherwise perpetuate myths that undermine public health insurance? Newspapers are listening: write them an Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor!


Should I Write a Letter to the Editor or An Op-Ed?

Letters to the editor are:

  • usually written in direct response to an article, editorial, op-ed, or column that the target paper has printed, or a reaction to a newsworthy event - that is at most 2 days old
  • short – 150 words or less – and can be summarized in 1 or 2 points, succinctly stated
  • tells a personal story that will resonate with other locals


** Letters to the editor are more likely to get published than an op-ed and can be more quickly turned around than an op-ed.

Op-eds (or “opposite editorial”):

  • are longer-form pieces (500 -750 words) that take the form of feature articles, commentary, or opinion and flesh out a bold or interesting stance (i.e., single payer is fiscally responsible, single payer is popular with the Republican base, etc.)
  • are more likely to be published if the author has credibility/expertise on the issue, or is making their case through a powerful personal story
  • will be relevant not only today but also for the next few weeks (op-eds have a longer lead time before publishing)
  • will require actively pitching your piece to editors

Writing Guidelines

Writing a Letter to the Editor

  • Check the specific paper's guidelines for LTEs before writing
  • Focus on one important point; don’t try to address separate issues in one letter.
  • Maximize your chance of being published by removing every non-essential word. For example, don’t say, “I think…”
  • Don’t use all capital letters or bold text to emphasize a word.
  • Use local statistics if writing to a local/regional paper

Writing an Op-Ed 

Submission Tips

  • Before writing, check the guidelines of the paper(s) to which you’ll submit your piece. Each paper has its own word count, style preferences, and submission protocol.
  • Send all your contact info with the piece.
  • For Op-Eds, submit your piece to one paper at a time.