Letters to the Editor are an integral part of the editorial page of all every newspaper although it is not possible to publish every letter.
The common subjects or issues on which letters are written are as follows -
Personal Problems – Price hikes, inflation, improper and inadequate civil amenities such as sanitation, water and power supply, garbage dumping etc or to redress any other problem linked to the day to day life of city or village dwellers.
News Development or Earth Shaking News – Letters are also written to applaud or condemn any incident, achievement, accomplishment, event, calamity, carnage, and arson, an act of terrorism or genocide.
Many times letters are written to highlight any major factual error or printing mistake in a news story.
It is to be noted that not all issues on which letters are written are either directly connected or associated with the writer.
Both types of letters, either appreciations or criticisms are published by the newspapers with equal importance.
The writer is able to share his perception and feeling with others. He/she is able to participate in a debate on any global or contemporary issues such as the civil war in Syria, threats from the ISIS militants, GST Bill, Pakistan-sponsored acts of terrorism in the Kashmir valley or the recommendations of the Lodha Commission regarding Indian cricket.
Letters to the Editor can also lead to mass movement and mass campaign.
These letters are considered as store-house of information many times written by an expert or authority having thorough and adequate knowledge regarding the subject or issue.
Sometimes phenomenal letter writers are invited to publication houses to join their newspaper as full-time journalists.
Types of Letters
1. Personal Problems
2. Problems faced by the citizens or the society
3. Counter-comments on any comment
4. Social service through Letters to the Editor, for instance seeking for donation or funds for a noble cause.
Letters to the Editor are considered as a self-teacher as new and copious things can be learned from a well-drafted letter published in leading newspapers such as The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Statesman, New York Times, and Washington Post. Good letters are also able to enlighten on news issues or subjects or provide additional information about them.
Letters to the Editor does not require any persuasion or preparation. Any news event or the perception that strikes in the mind of the writer is drafted in the form of a letter.
There is no barrier or favoritism while publishing the letters by any newspaper. They are always published on basis of merits, depending on the significance, requirement or demand of the situation or issue.
Many times fake or dubious letters are written to defame an individual or institution and earn cheap publicity. Although leading newspapers refrain from publishing such letters many tabloids or newspapers endorsing yellow journalism publish them in good faith without bothering to verify their authenticity.