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Sample Letter to the Editor

Writing a letter to the editor of a local or national newspaper or magazine in response to a recent article is an effective way to make your voice heard.

There’s no guarantee that your letter will be published, but there’s a sure fire way that it won’t be: if you don’t write it. So when you see an article about research or funding and have something to say, write it quickly and send it into your local paper’s editors.

Editors Can’t Publish Letters They Don’t Receive

The newspaper’s or magazine’s Web site and editorial page should have contact information and guidelines for how to submit a letter. The New York Times‘ letters editor has written a tip sheet for ways to make your letter more publishable, offering advice that applies to most publications. In general, keep your letter short, include your full contact information, submit it soon after the original article-ideally within 24 hours-and make one point, clearly and with conviction.

Sample Letter to the Editor

This letter was published in The Washington Post to make the case for the need to fund the NIH’s pandemic preparedness plan.

Regarding the August 27 op-ed by the paper’s Editorial Board, “The Coming Storm“:

“Another pandemic is not just a threat; it is an inevitability. Pandemics are emerging with greater frequency now than at any period in recorded history. Another uncomfortable reality: We were better prepared for the coronavirus than we are for other viral threats. Because severe acute respiratory syndrome and several other deadly coronaviruses preceded this one, the foundational research and development needed for the rapid development of coronavirus tests, treatments and vaccines was in place when the virus surfaced. There are critical gaps in the research and development around other viral families, leaving us vulnerable to an even greater pandemic crisis than with the coronavirus.

“The National Institutes of Health developed a pandemic preparedness research and development plan that takes a strategic approach to mitigating the risk across the viral families most likely to breed pandemics. Covid-19 has taken nearly 6.5 million lives across the globe. Knowing we are even less prepared for the next pandemic, why aren’t we funding the NIH plan? Inaction is a decision. In this case, a deadly one.”

— “Inaction on future pandemics is a decision,” By Eleanor Dehoney, Arlington, VA (The Washington Post, September 3, 2022)