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Letters to Columnists

Columnists play an important role in shaping public attitudes and perceptions. Many are widely read and have high visibility and credibility. They also have broad latitude in what they can write about. Their style is typically less formal and more conversational than that found in other parts of publications. Many columnists respond well to letters or telephone calls suggesting topics.

Contacting columnists
  • Before you pitch ideas to columnists, read their columns a few times to get a sense of what topics they cover and their style.
  • If possible, find out how and when columnists want to receive information.
  • Pitch your ideas, in writing or email, to columnists directly. Explain that you are writing to ask them to address elder abuse. You may also want to include information on your program and your outreach activities. Mention that you will follow up by telephone in a few days and provide contact information.
  • Be friendly but professional.    
  • Follow up with a telephone call to determine if the columnist is interested and to see if you can provide additional information.

More Tips
  • Columnists are likely to have rivals. Their relationships may be cordial or bitter. Find out which columnists from competing publications cover the same type of stories. Make sure you don’t “double sell” rival columnists on an idea.
  • Some columnists like to focus on personal stories or to interview victims. Be prepared to respond.

Last Updated: September 28, 2006  Top


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