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Talk to your local media

Local media attention makes the world of difference, raising the public profile of the issue so that others in the community can hear an alternative opinion.

Government agencies and companies collect media mentions about them on a daily basis, including letters to the editor.

Beat the drum in your local area by writing a letter to the editor or calling talkback radio.

Here are a few easy tips.

WRITING A LETTER TO THE EDITOR

For letters to newspapers, send your letter in before 1pm to get in the following day's paper.

Tip 1: Prepare
  • Do your homework – ensure your facts are right.
  • Read a few other letters to the editor first, especially if there is already a discussion going on the topic.
  • Online newspapers sometimes have an online form for automatically sending letters or a comments section beneath the article - check if this is the case.
Tip 2: Format
  • Address it "Dear Editor".
  • Include the date and your contact details (only your name and suburb will be published).
  • Start the letter by referring to the topic or article you are responding to, also mentioning the date and author of the article. For example, "I am responding to editorial/letter/article [title here] [(date printed)] in which [author] said …".
  • When emailing, paste the text into the email rather than sending as an attachment.
  • Check your spelling and grammar before sending.
Tip 3: Keep it focused and concise
  • Stick to a maximum of 200 words.
  • Keep to one issue/topic per letter.
  • Define the problem, offer solutions and call for action.
  • Avoid jargon - keep it in plain English.
Tip 4: "Concerned citizen"
  • Let readers know where you are coming from.
  • In presenting your case against GE, for example, your being a "concerned parent", "worried farmer" or "alarmed consumer" is great for conveying what a particular representative group might think about an issue.
Tip 5: Be polite
  • Remember, your aim is to communicate, educate and convince - not to relieve your feelings.
  • Emotion is great for fuelling action, but reasonableness is always the most persuasive in debate.
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