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Journalistic Writing

LETTERS TO EDITORS:Four important aspects about letters, Organizing letters

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Journalistic Writing ­ MCM310
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LECTURE 41
LETTERS TO EDITORS
Guide to Letter-Writing
Sometimes the pen -- or word processor -- really is mightier than the sword -- and you don't have to be
Shakespeare! Writing letters to newspapers, businesses, and legislators is an easy, effective way to help animals.
Here's how...
Letters to the Editor
When you write letters to the editors of local newspapers instead of writing to just one person, you reach
thousands! And it's easier than you might think.
·
Read local papers and magazines for fuel for letters. Watch for articles, ads, or letters that mention
animals.
·
Letters don't have to be rebuttals. Circus in town? Noticing a lot of strays? Or use the calendar for
inspiration: At Easter, tell readers why they shouldn't buy bunnies. On Mother's Day, remind your
community of the animals whose babies are taken from them on factory farms.
·
Write on good news, as well as bad. Thank the paper for its coverage of an anti-fur protest or for
running profiles of animals available for adoption at shelters.
·
Be brief! Sometimes one short, pithy paragraph is enough--tries to stay under 300 words (about one
typed page). Editors are less likely to print long letters.
·
Type, if possible. Otherwise, print legibly. Be sure to use correct grammar and spelling, and remember
to have it proofread.
·
Make sure you include your name, address, and telephone number in your letter. Some newspapers
verify authorship before printing letters.
·
Look for opportunities to write op-ed pieces for local papers. These are longer articles of about 500 -
800 words that summarize an issue, develop an argument, and propose a solution. Send the article to
the Editorial Page editor.
·
You can also write (or call) television and radio stations to protest glorification of animal abuse or to
compliment them on a program well done.
·
You can also write (or call) television and radio stations to protest glorification of animal abuse or to
compliment them on a program well done.
Four important aspects about letters:
Purpose: - your reason for writing, main idea, the bottom-line.
·  Prompt: - supportive details, various aspects of the issue, your points of discussion
·
Tone: - formality, courtesy, politeness,
·
Format: - protocol for letter, layout etc.
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Journalistic Writing ­ MCM310
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Letter parts:
Core Components
Optional Components
1. Sender's address
1. Status
2. Date
2. Reference line
3. Inside address
3. Attention line
4. Salutation
4. Typing notation
5. Subject line
5. Enclosure
6. Bottom-line
6. Copy notation
7. Discussion
7. Post script
8. Windup
8. Page notation
9. Closing notation
10. Signed name
11. Typed name
12. Designation
Punctuation: Open and closed-punctuation
Layout: Full blocked, blocked and semi-blocked
Paragraphing: point by point and in accordance with principles of organization
Tone:
No name-calling
No blames or allegations
No criticism on people but their ideas
Use positive words and be assertive throughout your writing.
Organizing letters:
1.
State your purpose first unless you have overriding reasons for not doing so.
2.
When a message has more than one purpose, state all purposes at the beginning, or write additional
messages.
3.
State your purpose first, even if you know the editor needs background information before he can fully
understand the purpose of your communication.
4.
Bottom-line non-sensitive information in order of importance to the editor.
6.
Put longer messages to the editor into an attachment.
7.
In case of negative situations, consider a circuitous approach.
8.
In negative-persuasive situations, use a circuitous pattern for most."
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Some Tips on Style
·
Increase your credibility by mentioning anything that makes you especially qualified to write on a topic:
For instance, "As a nutritionist, I know a veggie diet is healthy," or, "as a mother," or, "as a former fur-
wearer," or, "as a cancer survivor," etc.
·
Try to tell readers something they're not likely to know--such as how chickens are raised to produce
eggs--and encourage them to take action (such as to stop buying eggs).
·
Keep personal grudges and name-calling out of letters; they'll hurt your credibility.
·
Don't give lip service to anti-animal arguments. Speak affirmatively.
EXAMPLE
"It's not true vegetarians are weaklings."
BETTER
"Vegetarians are healthier and slimmer and live years longer than flesh-eaters."
·
Avoid self-righteous language and exaggeration. Readers may dismiss arguments if they feel preached
to
or
if
the
author
sounds
hysterical.
EXAMPLE
"Only a heartless sadist could continue to eat animals when any fool knows their lives are snuffed out
in screaming agony for the satisfaction of people who can't be bothered to take a moral stand."
BETTER
"Most compassionate people would stop eating meat if they saw how miserable the animals are."
·
Don't
assume
your
audience
knows
the
issues.
EXAMPLE
"Don't
support
the
cruel
veal
industry."
BETTER
"Calves factory-farmed for veal are tethered in small stalls and kept in complete darkness. Their
mothers also endure sad fates, starting with the loss of their infants a few days after birth."
·
Inclusive
language
helps
your
audience
identify
with
you.
EXAMPLE
"Eating
meat
is
bad
for
your
health."
BETTER
"We know eating meat is bad for our health."
·
Use
positive
suggestions
rather
than
negative
commands.
EXAMPLE
"Don't
go
to
the
circus."
BETTER
"Let's take our families to non-animal circuses."
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·  Personalize
your
writing
with
anecdotes
and
visual
images.
EXAMPLE
"Leg
hold
traps
can
trap
an
animal
by
the
face,
leg,
or
stomach."
BETTER
"Have you ever seen a yearling fox with her face caught in a leg hold trap? I have, which is how I know
traps tear into an animal's face, leg, or stomach."
·
Avoid speciesist language. Instead of referring to an animal with an inanimate pronoun ("it" or
"which"), use "she" or "he."
·
Avoid euphemisms ("negative reinforcement," "culling the herd"); say what you really mean ("painful
electric shocks," "slaughtering deer").
·
Criticize
the
cruelty,
not
the
newspaper.
EXAMPLE
"There
is
no
excuse
for
your
article
promoting
the
circus."
BETTER
"There is no excuse for the abuse that goes on in the circus."
XXX
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO JOURNALISTIC WRITING:Practical, THINGS TO KNOW
  2. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITERS
  3. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITERS
  4. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITING:Achieve appropriate readability:
  5. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITING:Be concise, Be creative, Be correct
  6. THE PROCESS OF WRITING:INVENTION, WHEN YOU START TO WRITE
  7. THE PROCESS OF WRITING II:ORGANIZING, DRAFTING, REVISING
  8. ALL ABOUT WORDS:HOW WORDS ARE FORMED?:SUFFIXES
  9. DICTIONARY-A WRITER’S LANGUAGE TOOL:KINDS OF INFORMATION
  10. PARTS OF SPEECH:Noun Gender, Noun Plurals, Countable Nouns
  11. BASIC CLAUSE PATTERNS
  12. ACTIVE AND PASSSIVE VOICE
  13. MODIFIERS AND SENTENCE TYPES:COMPOUND SENTENCES
  14. REPORTED SPEECH:Indirect Questions, Direct commands
  15. GRAMMATICAL SENTENCE – ISSUES:SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT
  16. GRAMMATICAL SENTENCE – ISSUES II:SENTENCE FRAGMENTS
  17. EFFECTIVE SENTENCE:PARALLELISM, NEEDED WORDS, SHIFTS
  18. STYLE: GUIDELINE AND PITFALLS I:COLLOQUIAL VS FORMAL, CIRCUMLOCUTION
  19. STYLE: GUIDELINE AND PITFALLS II:AMBIGUITY, REDUNDANCY, EUPHEMISM:
  20. PARAGRAPH WRITING: TYPES AND TECHNIQUES:STRUCTURE
  21. PARAGRAPH WRITING: TYPES AND TECHNIQUES:Putting on Our Play
  22. ESSAY WRITING:VARIOUS STRATEGIES FOR ESSAYS, PROMPTS
  23. SIGNAL WORDS:Non word Emphasis Signals
  24. EXPOSITORY WRITING:LOGICAL FALLACIES, APPEAL TO EMOTION
  25. THE WRITING STYLES: REPORT and NARRATIVE WRITING, SHORT REPORTS
  26. THE WRITING STYLES: DESCRIPTIVE AND PERSUASIVE WRITINGS, Observation
  27. RESEARCH WRITING AND DOCUMNETING SOURCES:Handling Long Quotations
  28. Summary and Précis Writing:CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD SUMMARY
  29. Punctuation:THE PERIOD, THE COMMA, THE SEMICOLON, THE COLON
  30. MECHANICS:ABBREVIATIONS, NUMBERS, SPELLING, THE HYPHEN
  31. READING SKILLS FOR WRITERS:EDUCATED READING, STEPS
  32. PARTS OF A NEWSPAPER:Box-out, By-line, Caption, Exclusive, Feature
  33. THE LANGUAGE OF THE NEWSPAPERS II:BROADSHEET NEWSPAPER
  34. News Writing and Style I:WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A NEWSPAPER
  35. NEWS WRITING II:Accuracy, Clarity, Style, Qualities of Effective Leads
  36. EDITORIAL WRITING:WRITING AN EDITORIAL:STRUCTURING AN EDITORIAL
  37. WRITING FEATURES:GENERATING FEATURE STORY IDEAS
  38. WRITING COLUMNS:Column and a news report, Purpose, Audience
  39. WRITING ARTICLES FOR NEWSPAPERS:The Heading, The Lead
  40. WRITING ANALYSIS:purpose, scope, method, results, recommendations
  41. LETTERS TO EDITORS:Four important aspects about letters, Organizing letters
  42. BROADCAST AND WEB NEWS WRITING:WRITE CONCISELY, BROADCAST STYLE
  43. WRITING PRESS RELEASE, REVIEWS AND OBITUARIES:Summary of Content:
  44. THE ART OF INTERVIEWINGS
  45. FINAL THOUGHTS:Practical, Job-Related, Social, Stimulating, Therapeutic