Letter to the Editor Instructions
In practically all newspapers there is a section for “letters to the editor.” This section is designed to allow readers of the paper the opportunity to write their opinion on current issues or events, and then have those opinions be published.
For example, one of the big issues in the news as I wrote this course was whether or not the Boy Scouts of America had the right to choose who can and can’t be scoutmasters. The reason it was a big issue was because the Supreme Court of the United States was about to rule on an important lawsuit. In the lawsuit, James Dale, a homosexual had been told by the scouting organization that he could no longer be a scoutmaster, because homosexuality was against everything that the scouts stood for. Dale decided to sue the Scouting organization because he thought they were guilty of discrimination. Dale won the case in the state of New Jersey, so then it went to the Supreme Court, where Dale lost. The Boy Scouts were victorious, and it sets a very important precedent for the rights of private organizations.
Nevertheless, during those weeks of the trial and then the weeks awaiting a verdict, there were many letters to the editor for or against the Boy Scouts. People wanted their voice to be heard, and so they wrote letters to the editor to be published.
-Letter to the Editor Writing Assignment
First, find two more examples of good letters to the editor on an issue that interests you. Copy and paste the letters (if you found them online) into a Word document or scan the article and save it as a PDF and include them as part of the writing assignment that follows.
Next, you will write a letter of your own in which you will express an opinion on a current issue in your immediate world. It can be an issue at your school (such as lack of parking, lack of discipline, or problems with the curriculum, etc.), or your immediate community (a controversial politician or law, traffic woes, public safety, etc.). I do not want you to write about a national or global issue for the purposes of this assignment. Also, this letter can be on a serious topic, or you can choose a humorous topic. Pick one that will suit your “voice.”
-Your paper should include the following elements:
Intro and Stance
Introduce the issue briefly at the beginning of your letter, and then take a clear stand as to how you view the issue. (No fence-sitting allowed.)
-Body of Letter
Be sure to provide specific reasons and evidence that supports your view. If you just give opinion with no real evidence, or persuasive arguments, then your letter will be weak and unconvincing. Try also to order your arguments such that they build in their persuasiveness. In other words, start with your weaker arguments, and build up to your strongest argument. Make sure you have at least three specific arguments or evidences to support your view.
Last, make sure you end your letter with something to think about. You should also restate (not in the same words, but restate the same view/idea) your view so that the reader is completely clear where you stand and why.