Letters to the Editor

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Sometimes it seems there's a select small inbred club reading those letters to the editor - but it includes the politicians trying to keep an ear to the ground. Letters to the editor really work to make a difference.

This fall, as the election heats up, the Vermont Rail Action Network is mounting a campaign to insure rail is perceived as an important issue.  Please write a letter to your local newspaper reinforcing the importance of rail.  The following article is an excellent introduction.

At the end of this article are links and contact information for submitting your letter to each major Vermont newspaper.  Thanks!


By Rebekah Patnode

Letters to the Editor are an opportunity to “be the press” for a moment, but come with limitations.  Publishing is up to the discretion of the Editor, so following some guidelines is recommended if the ultimate objective is to be published.  Note that different publications have individual recommended guidelines, so writers should refer to each individual Editor’s wishes regarding length of the letter, etc.

Ÿ         Letters should, unless otherwise stated, be between 250-350 words, or several concise paragraphs.

Ÿ         The subject matter should be clearly stated within the first two sentences.

Ÿ         Assertive, diplomatic language should be used.  Avoid obvious or redundant phrases like “I am writing to” and “It is my opinion”, obscenities, conspiracies, judgmental language, and unreferenced character assassinations.

Ÿ         A reference to a recent article published in that paper or a local reference to a publicized national or larger regional issue is key.  This should be the focus of the letter, and should be mentioned at least at the beginning and end of the letter.

Ÿ         The writer should state his or her opinion as fact and provide sufficient information to back it up.

Ÿ         Letters should provide a fresh perspective on a single topic.  For instance, “Railroads in Vermont need more infrastructure investment, and our state representative should vote to support that” as opposed to “Railroads need more support, and so are the cuts to school funding, increased cost in healthcare, and the dog leash laws, and our representative supports all of these.”

….So, Keep it Diplomatic, Concise, Referenced, and Local!


How to Submit a Letter to the Editor

Burlington Free Press

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or send to:
P.O. Box 10, Burlington, VT, 05402
To submit an article (or op-ed):
(or click the “get published” link on home page)

Rutland Herald

(or click the “submit a letter” link on left of the home page)

Saint Albans Messenger
(or click “submit content” in top menu)

90 Federal St. PO BOX 8  St. Johnsbury, VT 05819

Addison Independent

Barre/Montperlier Times-Argus
(or click the “submit a letter” link on left of the home page)

Eagle Times

Bennington Banner
425 Main Street, Bennington, VT 05201
(802) 447-7567

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fax (802) 442-3413

Brattleboro Reformer
E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (preferred method) or mail to Letter Box, Brattleboro Reformer, 62 Black Mountain Rd., Brattleboro, VT05301.


Here's what you can do to stay safe around trains...

Never trespass on any railroad property or right of way!
Doing so is illegal and risks serious injury or death.

Cross only at designated pedestrian or roadway crossings!
Look for a train moving from either direction -- and then look for a second train from either direction.

Always expect a train!
Trains do not have set schedules and can approach from either direction at any time of day or night.
Trains do not take holidays.

Don't stand next to tracks!
Trains can overhang the tracks by three feet on either side, and straps and tiedowns can extend even further.

Never try to beat a train!
Because of their size, you cannot judge a train's speed or distance. Trains cannot make sudden stops. Remember that a locomotive weighs 200 tons. An automobile being hit by a train is equivalent to a soda can being hit by an automobile.