A Guide to Writing Letters to the Editor 

The Augur Bit. Photo by Reid Alexander.

In a dozen Bit Newsletters over the past year, we have encouraged readers to write and submit letters to the editor. But not once has anyone chosen to do so, and nor have we yet fully explained what we mean. We hope to rectify both problems here.

What’s a letter to the editor?

A letter to the editor is essentially a public response to an article—a thoughtful comment on something that was published, which the editors in turn publish for other readers to consider. Letters to the editor differ from regular opinionated articles in three main ways:

1. They are shorter—in the Bit’s case, less than 300 words.

2. They are easier. While we maintain the right to mildly edit letters to the editor for clarity or fact-checking, they do not go through the regular editing process.

3. They can be written by anyone, not just students. While only GDS students can write full-length articles or opinion pieces for the Bit, any reader—including GDS teachers, staff members, administrators and parents—is welcome to submit a letter to the editor.

How can I write one?

We envision promoting active discourse in The Augur Bit in which GDS community members frequently share their perspective on stories and ideas that matter to them. So here is a four-step guide to writing letters to the editor.

1. The first and most important thing to do is to read the Bit. Letters to the editor respond to articles we’ve published, so in order to participate in the conversation, you should keep up with the paper’s latest articles.

2. Second, look for articles to which to respond. Does an Augur Bit article provoke an especially strong reaction in you? Do you take issue with something an article says, or even the way it goes about saying it? Do you want to opine on a news story or counter an Opinions piece? Do you have a related perspective, proposal or personal anecdote to bring to the table? Those are all great reasons to write a letter to the editor.

3. Next, write your opinion! Writing a letter to the editor is as simple as writing down what you think in a clear, concise way. Stick to what you know for certain and what the article at hand says, and make sure to write it in a way readers will understand. Since we won’t do significant revisions, it’s up to you to communicate your views as effectively as you can.

4. Lastly, submit your letter to the Bit by sending it in an email to augurbit@gds.org. Make clear in the subject line that you are sending a letter to the editor for publication, and look out for a response. We may make minor edits and pass the final letter by you before publishing it (and we reserve the right not to publish letters in rare instances). If you want your letter to appear in a particular Bit Newsletter, please share it with us by the Wednesday before. 

If you still have any questions about what letters to the editor are or how to write one, please feel free to reach out to us. We can’t wait to publish your letters in the coming weeks!

Sign up for our weekly newsletter!Current GDS high school students and teachers receive the newsletter automatically.