June 17, 2017

100 Days of Letters to the Editor

Resistbot volunteers have submitted about 900 letters to the editor to over 150 newspapers around the United States.

by Elizabeth Miller

Credit: Markus Spiske

You can use Resistbot to send letters to your local newspapers

Have you been using Resistbot to send faxes and letters to Congress (and maybe your governor too) but wished more people could see what you have to say? Maybe you’re extra passionate about an issue, or you want to make a larger impact in your community, or you’re just really proud of what you wrote. All you have to do is text letter2editor to 50409 and the bot will help you opt-in so our volunteers can submit your letter to your local paper as well.

Writing letters to the editor is a powerful form of advocacy

Believe it or not, writing a letter to the editor has potentially more impact than writing or calling Congress. While contact to Congressional offices gets recorded and stowed away, that office is the only group of folks who will usually see it. However a published letter in a representative’s home newspaper has the benefit of being an open letter for everyone to read, and arguably no people are more concerned about media impressions than politicians. All politics is local, after all. If your representative isn’t hosting any town halls for example, expressing disappointment in their accessibility is an important public service.

What we’ve done so far

The Resistbot team rolled out its Letters to the Editor feature not long after launching 100 days ago, and we’re proud to say we’ve had some great results! So far we’ve gotten letters published in papers across the U.S., from the Alaska Dispatch News to the Wisconsin State Journal. We’ve submitted nearly 900 letters to more than 150 newspapers! Here are just a few of the letters we’ve gotten posted:

Our volunteer team does its best to submit every letter we get! And we do love to hear back from you if your letter gets published.

Some tips and tricks, from somebody with mumblety years of editorial experience:

  • Keep it short and simple. If your letter covers many different topics, or if it’s longer than about 200 words, editors won’t be likely to publish it.
  • Don’t be afraid to submit to smaller papers! While the New York Times and Washington Post are admirable goals, and their editorial pages get a lot of exposure, your letters are a lot more likely to be published in local newspapers, and they’re much more likely to be seen by your Congresspeople.
  • Make sure your name and address in Resistbot are correct. (Use the changename or changeaddress commands if you need.) Most newspapers require you to include an address when you send them a letter, though they won’t publish anything more than your name and city.
  • It’s alright for your letter to be imperfect. Editors don’t care how fancy your letter is. They want to share the opinions and ideas of their readers.

Even if you don’t want to send letters to the editor, you can text resist to 50409 on any cell phone and our bot will put you in contact with your elected officials. And if you want to help us deliver your messages and keep the service running, you can always donate! The texts, faxes, and postage add up!

Workerbot

Resistbot is a free service, but standard messaging and data rates may apply through your carrier. Text STOP to 50409 to stop all messages. Text HELP to 50409 for help. Here are our full terms and privacy policy.

Resistbot is a product of the Resistbot Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization.
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