Letter to the Editor / Representative / Senator
TASK: To complete the assignment you will do the following:
Select a federal topic or issue from one of the following newspapers/websites. Select an article or editorial that examines public policy or politics. You will also want to take a look at the “Letter to the Editor” pages – there you can see examples as well as an editorial that you may want to respond to;
New York Times, Washington Post, Austin American Statesman, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Texas Tribune.
Read the article or editorial carefully. Consider the following questions about the topic being discussed.
- What opinions are expressed in the piece?
- What ideas do you agree with? Why? Identify evidence to support your opinion.
- What do you disagree with? Why? Identify evidence to support your opinion.
- Identify any inconsistencies or biases in the way the author presents the ideas.
- How do the ideas in the article relate to your personal experience, morals or political beliefs?
- Identify what actions you and other like-minded citizens could take to address the topic.
Write a letter to the editor OR a United States Representative or Senator responding to the issue with your own well-supported perspective and a call-to-action in your writing.
Write a succinct, but a persuasive argument, supported by facts, evidence, etc. In other words, your purpose in this letter is to provide a focused response, support it with evidence, and explain it.
In your conclusion, include suggested actions that you or other like-minded citizens might take to increase awareness or problem solve the issue you care about.
CRITERIA: Your assignment will be graded on the following criteria.
Begin with an address: To the Editor / Representative … / Senator…..
Be sure to reference the date, article title, and author of the article in your first line so that the editor know what you are referring to. Be sure the link to your citation functions.
Have an introductory statement (a topic sentence) clearly stating the main point you are going to make. Your introductory paragraph includes your thesis statement.
Have 2-3 examples to support that overall point. This could include personal experience. However, you are also required to provide evidence, facts, data and examples (based on your research) to support your overall point. Facts and figures must be accurate – do the research.
Explanation of the evidence. This is very important. How does that evidence link to your overall point?
Have a few concluding sentences that include a call to action and/or a statement of how this issue will affect others.
Sign with your name, date and city, and your credentials indicating what makes you a credible source.
While each publication has their own rules for the number of words a letter to the editor may contain, for this assignment your letter must be 250-350 words (not including citation and your personal information.
The letter should meet the standards of “good” writing, including having correct spelling, proper grammar, and correct mechanics.
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