Letter to the Editor Writing Tips


How to write a Letter to the Editor (LTEs) about the NY GMO Labeling bill

Letters to the Editor published in newspapers, magazines, and other publications are an important way for the public, policymakers, and the press to get a more informed understanding of an issue and how the public views it. LTEs are especially effective for campaigns related to politics and legislation because the staff of an elected official closely monitors the opinion pages of newspapers in their district.


General Writing Tips:

  • Keep it short — between 200-250 words — most publications won’t accept LTEs longer than that. You can usually find submission guidelines in the publication or on its web site.
  • Make your letter original – do not copy and paste the text below. Personalize you letter.
  • Do not send the same letter to two competing papers in the same circulation area.
  • Use polite language.

 

 

Specific Talking Points for an LTE about the NY GMO Labeling Bill:

 

[Bring the GMO Labeling Bill to a Vote]

  • The majority of the state legislature supports the GMO labeling bill (A.617/S.485) -- 50 percent of the Assembly and nearly half of the Senate have cosponsored the bill.
  • Given this overwhelming support, I am writing to urge Assemblymember [insert your state representative’s name] and Senator [insert your state senator’s name] to make sure the bill is brought to a floor vote this year.
  • Vermont will be the first state to label GMOs starting this July — let’s make it happen here in New York, too!
[State why GMO labeling matters to you and New Yorkers]
  • We have the right to know what’s in the food we eat
  • We have the right to choose what we want to feed our families and make informed decisions
  • The long-term safety of eating GMOs remains unknown – they’re not being adequately safety assessed
  • GMO crops are approved based on studies conducted by the biotech industry, not independently reviewed data
  • GMO crops are engineered to produce their own insecticides and withstand being doused with herbicides, like glyphosate, which the World Health Organization classified as a probable carcinogen

 

[The General Case for Labeling]

  • Polls consistently show that over 90% of Americans support GMO labeling
  • 64 countries around the world already label GMOs
  • Campbell Soup, General Mills, Pepsico, and Mars have started to voluntarily label their genetically engineered products, at no extra charge to consumers.