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A guide for writing to Viewpoint

Kara King | Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It’s that time of the year again when Viewpoint becomes intensely ‘Monologues’ oriented.

So here it is, a shameless plea for letters. But not just any letters. Good letters. Articulate letters. Letters with a logical argument.

Below are some helpful tips for letter-writing, guaranteed to increase your chance of publication.

1) Proofread – Don’t just write a letter in anger and send it off. Remember that you are submitting this for publication. It is not just a friendly (or not-so-friendly) e-mail. If there are typos or basic grammatical mistakes, your letter won’t be taken seriously. Have some pride in your work.

2) Sign your name – We have only printed one anonymous letter in our 42 year history. We are unlikely to do so again. If you are embarrassed by your opinions, perhaps you should reconsider sending it out there for the world (or at least the campus) to see. And sign your real name. We can’t publish under pseudonyms.

3) Provide the necessary contact information – It’s frustrating when we receive a well-written letter but cannot run it after we fail to get in touch with the author. If you’re a student, give us your dorm and class year. If you’re an alum, let us know when you graduated. And everyone should provide a phone number and valid e-mail address.

4) Don’t make stuff up – If you quote facts or figures, cite your sources at the end of the letter.

5) Find something new to write about – This isn’t necessarily a requirement, but it improves the section as a whole. You can literally write about whatever you want. Write about something you care about. A passionate letter is much more likely to run and draw readers and responses.

6) Keep it brief – I can’t stress this one enough. Anything over 350 words, and you’ll be losing readers. It’s supposed to be a letter, not a manifesto. Be concise. You’ll get your point across to more people if you can manage this one.

7) Don’t be afraid to ask – If you have a time-sensitive topic, e-mail us ahead of time so we can do our best to accommodate the letter. If you’re interested in writing a guest column, let us know. We are open to suggestions.

8) I do my best to print letters representative of what I receive, but I can’t print everything that comes in. If yours doesn’t quite make it, find a new topic and try again.

Viewpoint is representative of our community. If you find it boring, change it.