Section 2: Building Media Relations
Types of News Media
Organization Communication
Building Blocks
Guidelines for Media Interviews
Press Releases
Editors' Advisories
Public Service Announcements
Press Conferences
Editorial Board
Internet Strategies
Talk Shows
Developing A Media Plan

Link to A Guide for Journalists Who Report on Crime and Crime Victims
Link to Crime Victim Outreach Tip Sheets

Victim Media Advocacy:
How to Build Positive Relations With the News Media



a. Editorial Guidelines
b. Writing Tips


Woman licking a white envelope (staged with professional model).

Letters-to-the-editor are usually written in response to an article that has already been published in a newspaper or magazine, or to comment on general issues that the news medium has addressed in the recent past. They can be a good venue for victim advocates to address or introduce news of interest to a publication’s readers.

Victim advocates and victims can write letters-to-the-editor to28 28. Ibid., 52.

A red. white and black dart board.


a. Editorial Guidelines

All major publications have specific guidelines about letters-to-the-editor, which are usually available on their Web sites:

b. Writing Tips

Since editors receive hundreds of letters on a daily basis, victim advocates must make their letters stand out in order to be published. Timing is critical when responding to a published article. “The sooner, the better” means the letter should be written immediately. Editors are more likely to publish letters that—

In addition, letters can encourage readers to take action: make a call, write a letter, or visit a Web site for more information about how to get involved. Victim assistance organizations can also engage community leaders or other prominent people (including crime victims and survivors) to write letters-to-the-editor on their behalf. A brief sentence about their unique qualifications can be added at the end of the letter.

When victims of crime write a letter-to-the-editor, they should consider identifying themselves as a victim or survivor, depending upon their comfort level and any issues related to personal safety (“As a survivor of my daughter Anna’s homicide. . .”). This offers a truly unique perspective that may grab an editor’s attention and present a viewpoint that can only be provided by someone who has been victimized.

All letters-to-the-editor should be proofread for grammar, spelling, and the accuracy of the information included.

28. Ibid., 52.

(Top of Page)