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KISS. Keep It Simple and Short. The best way to keep to the limit of 200 words is to make a single argument. You can always write back next month if you have another opinion you want to share.
Keep it local. Letters about President Obama and Congress are welcome, but those focused on local city and county issues get priority.
Keep it civil. Name-calling, insults, sarcasm and personal attacks may attract an audience on cable TV, but they don’t belong in letters to the editor.
Show, don’t tell. Use personal experiences to explain why you hold a particular opinion on an issue.
Make us laugh. Letters don’t always have to be serious. Show off your sense of humor.
Include the headline, section and date of the article or letter that inspired you to write us.
Source it. If you quote facts and figures, tell us where you found the information if they aren’t well known.
Identify yourself. Include your full first name and middle initial and phone number.
Say "Amen" unless you have something else to add. Don't just agree with a previous letter writer. Add fresh insights or personal observations.
Attack staff members. We welcome fair criticism, but the ban on personal attacks covers employees of The Roanoke Times, not just third parties.
Regurgitate sound bites from talk shows. Rachel Maddow and Rush Limbaugh have their own shows, we don’t need to host reruns in the newspaper.
Cut and paste. Pawning off form letters and rants found on the Internet is especially bad form, not to mention plagiarism.
Copy the newspaper on letters to the mayor, congressional members or legislators. Letters to the editor should address the editor or, even better, your neighbors.
Demand anonymity or expect to have your letter published without editing.
Use the letter section to send out thank you notes. We don't publish kudos for bake sales, raffles or other routine fundraisers.
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