Letters to the Editors Resources

The Oxford Blue: Letters to the Editors

A letter to the editors is a letter sent to The Oxford Blue’s Editors-in-Chief concerning any topics regarding articles written by The Blue. Letters are intended for publication. To send a letter to the editors, use this document as a guide and in order to adhere to our guidelines. Please fill out the google form to submit a letter. We welcome letters from any of our readers.

This document is a guide to writing a letter in response to articles written by The Oxford Blue. The guidelines outlined here should be used as a tool by contributors to improve and inform their writing and editing. This is a living document and we welcome input into sections for inclusion. 

If you are ever unsure about the style or content of a letter, please speak to the Editors-in-Chief, Managing Director or a member of the Senior Editorial team.

They are: 

  • Editors-in-Chief: Breeha Mazhar and Gabriella Emery | editor@theoxfordblue.co.uk
  • Managing Director: Adam Thompson | managingdirector@theoxfordblue.co.uk
  • Senior Editorial Team|editorial@theoxfordblue.co.uk 

This document is written collaboratively. Sources and authors will be labelled appropriately for full transparency.

This document covers:

Letter guidelines

How to write a letter to the editors

Why your letter may not be published

Example letter and useful links

Complaints

Letter guidelines 

Please follow the following guidelines when writing a letter. Only letters that meet these guidelines will be considered suitable for publication: 

  • Letters must follow the Reporting Guidelines of the paper that can be found on our website. 
  • Letters should be around 400 words and proofread. 
  • Letters must not include other people’s names (including those of authors)—if you want to reference a particular article or letter, do so by title and add a link to it. 

How to write a letter to the editors

Source: [Community Toolbox]

Here are some simple tips to act as a checklist for your letter:

  1. Open the letter with a simple salutation.
  2. Grab the reader’s attention.
  3. Explain what the letter is about at the start.
  4. Explain why the issue is important. 
  5. Give evidence for any praise or criticism.
  6. State your opinion about what should be done. 
  7. Keep it brief.
  8. Sign the letter.

Source: [Wikipedia

The subject matter of letters to the editor vary widely. However, the most common topics include:

  • Supporting or opposing a stance taken in an article, or responding to another writer’s letter to the editor.
  • Commenting on a current issue being debated by a governing body – local, regional or national depending on the publication’s circulation. Often, the writer will urge elected officials to make their decision based on his/her viewpoint.
  • Remarking on materials (such as a news story) that have appeared in a previous edition. Such letters may either be critical or praising.
  • Correcting a perceived error or misrepresentation.

Why your letter may not be published 

The Oxford Blue reserves the right not to publish letters they receive. If your latter has not been published, it may be for one of the following reasons: 

  • It has not met our Reporting Guidelines. This especially includes any letters that continue offensive content. 
  • If we receive a large volume of letters, we may not be able to publish all acceptable ones at the same time. If that is the case, we may publish some of them at a later date, exercising our judgement to determine the timing of their publication. 

Example letter and useful links 

Example letter: 

Hello,

The recent article in favour of Joe Biden (https://www.theoxfordblue.co.uk/2020/08/26/vote-joe/) is unfair to his political record. With such a long career, it is inevitable that some of his previous positions will, in retrospect, look problematic. Even Bernie Sanders was in favour of the 1994 crime bill. What matters, though, is that he is able to appeal to a wide variety of voters across race and class, and is one of the few consensus-builders left in politics. The world would be much better if there were more politicians like him.

Best,

Zaman Keinath-Esmail

For more examples and inspiration, you may find the following links helpful: 

Complaints 

If you wish to make a complaint about a letter to the editors, please email the Editors-in-Chief at editor@theoxfordblue.co.uk.