How to submit a letter to the editor

How to submit a letter to the editor

Letters to the editor are an important part of the opinion section. Our readers share a wide range of perspectives on current issues.

Letters that are well-written, have a clear opinion and are responsive to current events are more likely to be chosen for publication. The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin editors always try to give preference to the paper's critics in choosing letters to be published. Opinions that differ from those presented elsewhere on the editorial and opinion pages are also given priority. The Union-Bulletin also seeks to publish letters from a range of readers of diverse backgrounds. Letters represent Union-Bulletin's broad readership rather than serve as a platform for officials of organizations or government agencies.

When submitting a letter, please include the topic or headline and date of the article, editorial or opinion piece to which your letter refers.

Letters to the editor should be 200 words or fewer. A writer decreases his or her chances of being selected for publication if the letter exceeds that length. Please do not expect us to publish letters from a single writer more frequently than once every months to give other readers a chance to express their opinions. If your letter is selected for publication, you may be contacted for identity verification or if we have questions about the letter's content.

In addition to submitting your letter through the website, you may mail or email your letter, and all letters must include your full name (no initials), address and telephone number(s) for verification. Only your name and city of residence are published. Letters become the property of the Union-Bulletin and may be edited.

Email to: letters@wwub.com

Mail to: Editorial Page Editor, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, P.O. Box 1358, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

Writing guidelines: Dos and Don’ts

DO: Have an opinion and state it forcefully — Many letters submitted are explanations of an issue or a restatement of a news article, rather than knowledgeable arguments about an issue. Those won’t make the cut.

DO: Be civil and constructive — It’s perfectly appropriate to strongly criticize ideas, reasoning or positions that you disagree with. But it is not appropriate to make personal attacks.

DO: Present an organized opinion — It's usually better to begin with the premise of your opinion and the topic being addressed, rather than assembling the facts and presenting a conclusion at the end.

DO: Be timely — We prefer letters about current events rather than something that happened months ago. Address issues covered by the Union-Bulletin in the past several weeks. Make sure a letter submission contains the most recent updates on a news topic.

DO: Include name and contact information — Include your full name (no initials), address and telephone number(s) for verification. Only your name and city of residence are published. We do not publish letters written anonymously or under pseudonyms.

DO: Cite sources and provide context — Please include URLs for statistics, facts and reports mentioned in your letter submission. This helps the editor fact-check letters.

DO: Submit a letter only to the Union-Bulletin — If your letter has been sent to another publication or published elsewhere in print, on a personal blog or on Facebook, we will not be able to use it.

DO: Submit as text — Please include the text of the submission in the body of the email. Please do not send us document files or files in PDF format.

DO: Keep letter submissions short — 200 words or fewer.

DON’T: Send a PR pitch or send a letter as part of a mailing campaign — Don’t submit a letter related to your organization’s event or as part of a mailing campaign. News tips should be sent to news@wwub.com.

DON’T: Demand review of editing or headlines — Most editors are willing to discuss editing changes for brevity or clarity but are seldom patient with nitpicks. Titles on letters submitted are rarely used because of specific formatting requirements for print and digital publication. Headlines are written by someone who specializes in that skill.

DON’T: Use specialized jargon — Use common English.

DON’T: Follow-up contact — There's no need to call first to ask if we're interested. If we want to publish it, we'll contact you within five business days.

DON’T: Demand a letter be removed once it is published — The Union-Bulletin does not remove content online once it has been published. If something needs correcting, please follow up with the letters editor.

Questions?

Contact the letters editor at 509-526-8309.