Here are some suggestions for getting your view across in the media:
The growth of news websites means that articles are often published first online. If an article is open for comments, it is an opportunity for you to express your view. It is an immediate way to engage in the debate.
As a general principle, stick to the facts that support your view, and avoid personal attacks. While many media outlets moderate comments, be prepared for an instant reaction from others.
- Prepare you key messages before you go ‘on air’ – up to five one-line sentences are plenty.
- Try to answer questions in the context of your key points.
- Your time is limited, so don’t be sidetracked by the host.
- Stick to the facts, and if you don’t have an answer to a questions, say so.
- Speak clearly and slowly.
- Keep the conversation friendly, and remember that the listeners are you audience, not the host.
Submitting Letters to the Editor
Each publication has different requirements for Letters to the Editor, but here are some general guidelines:
- Before you begin writing your Letter to the Editor, research the topic. Read original articles, opinions and letters published in the media. Do not respond to hearsay. You should respond in a timely fashion while the topic is still fresh in people’s minds.
- What are your objectives? What do you want to convey in your letter? Why are you responding to this topic? Try to stick to the facts. Personal experience can be used effectively but do not become emotional.
- List your key messages but do not go overboard. Three to five short key points are sufficient. Keep your sentences to a minimum so your meaning is not lost.
- Always sign Letters to the Editor. Newspapers may need to verify information, so it is important to include your full name, address, a contact telephone number and your email.
- If you are using a sample letter, make sure you personalise it to suit the topic you are writing about.
- Follow the publication’s guidelines. If there are no formal guidelines then have a look at other Letters to the Editor to get a feel for the newspaper’s preferred style.
- Knowing your audience may help get your Letter to the Editor published. Adopt the same length and style of writing your targeted newspaper uses.
- Remember to include appropriate references if your letter refers to an article, opinion or letter previously published.
- Check all your facts before submitting your letter.
- Be clear and succinct.
- Expect changes to your published letter. Letters can and will be edited for such things as grammar, expression, repetition and length.
- Letters that are sexist, racist or defamatory in anyway will not be published. Additionally, note that newspapers are not obligated to publish letters based on personal grievances.
- Encourage others who feel strongly about independent schooling to also write letters to the editor. More letters means more awareness for the Independent education sector.
- Do not be discouraged if your first few letters don’t get published. Newspapers receive more letters than they can print. Letters most commonly published are those that have bearing to current issues.
Who to Contact
The Herald Sun
Post: Letters to the Editor, Herald Sun
PO Box 14631,
Melbourne, VIC, 8001
Post: Letters Editor
PO Box 257.
Post: Letters to the Editor
GPO Box 4162
Australian Financial Review
Fax: 02 9282 3137
Post: Letters to the Editor
GPO Box 506,