It's not that easy to get a letter published in the Canberra Times. We get several hundred submissions every day and generally publish about 25. But there are many things you can do to improve your letter's chances. Here are a few.
Keep it short We ask for letters to be no longer than 200 words for the Canberra Times. Generally one is published each day that is longer; most are much shorter.
Keep it simple Try to make one or two clear points. You can't solve all the world's problems in one letter.
Keep it with us Don't copy your letter to other newspapers. We never publish letters we know have been sent elsewhere, and we are less likely to run them if we suspect that may be the case. If you write regularly to other papers, make it clear you have not offered your letter elsewhere. We do not publish form letters, open letters or press releases.
Keep it fresh Please don't send the same letter over and over again. Or dozens of letters on one day. We like regular letter writers, but we want the greatest diversity possible on the page, so you should not expect to be published more than about twice a month or once a week. The more you write, the less likely it is that any given letter will be published. Save them for your most compelling thoughts.
Keep it civil Don't abuse people. However strongly you feel about your point, extreme language and wild analogies are unlikely to make it more effectively. We tend to follow the old rule that the first person to mention the Nazis has lost the argument.
Keep it relevant Your letter will have a better chance if it refers to a story in the paper or on the website, or a previous letter. Not all letters published do so, but most do. And it is one way we know it is meant only for us.
Keep it open Disclose any relevant information. If you work for an organisation, belong to a political party (especially at election times), have academic links or any affiliation that may be remotely connected to the subject matter of your letter, please tell us. It may not need to be published, but it helps us judge the letter and it may also help the readers. We welcome the inclusion of sources to back up what you say, again not necessarily for publication.
Get there early There is no rigid deadline for readers, but there is for the page editors. The later in the day your letter arrives, the harder it is to get it in the following day's paper. Of course it will still be considered, but after another 24 hours the story may have moved on.
Follow the rules Please read the submissions criteria carefully. We always need your full name (not just initials), home address and a phone number. A work address is sufficient if you are writing on behalf of an organisation at that address. If we cannot find you in the White Pages, on the electoral roll or by other reliable means, we may be unable to publish your letter.
We think readers should be able to trust that those published are who they say they are. Disguising or blurring your identity is, at best, a waste of everyone's time. This includes the use of maiden names. We do not allow the use of an alternative name for men, single women or married women who do not take their husband's name – it is unfair to make an exception for women who want to alternate between two names.
We do not acknowledge receipt of unpublished letters unless the writer requests it.
Anonymity We occasionally publish letters and withhold the name and/or suburb of the writer (you must still tell us), but only under very specific circumstances. Generally that means when revealing it would expose the writer or someone else to an unacceptable risk of violence, or when the letter reveals personal information the writer may reasonably want to keep private (such as a previous conviction or a history of sexual abuse).
We are always happy to answer questions about anonymity or anything else to do with submissions: Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org