Writing letters to the editor to newspapers is a great way for a person to get involved with the local affairs of the regional area. It is also a great way for people to take part in citizen journalism. For people who write editorial letters, it allows them to give their voice to local issues and what is the local community’s wisest course of action.
As a frequent letter writer, I have had the opportunity to tell people to enjoy the tourist attractions, historic site gems and the happenings and goings on here in South Carolina and North Carolina. And I have written letters for some of the largest newspapers of the regional area. Since I started writing letters to the editor in 2014, I have written for more than 35 newspapers and written more than 86 editorial letters. In my letter-writing career, I have written newspapers throughout South Carolina and written to many places I have traveled to with my family and friends in North Carolina.
A collection of my editorial letters and writings was self-published in a book last year with AuthorHouse publishers, titled Letters from South Carolina. My book even includes letters from many fine North Carolina publications, such as the Asheville Citizen Times, Mountain Xpress of Asheville, South Charlotte Weekly, The Dispatch [of Lexington] and Asheboro Courier-Tribune. I have admired and looked up to older and deceased prolific letter writers from the Carolinas, such as Leroy Vance Corbett, who was published in the Raleigh News & Observer; Bill Beerman, who published letters in the Greensboro News & Record; and Ovalyn Williams, who published letters in the Anderson (S.C.) Independent Mail.
I have also looked up to and emulated nationally known letter writers in the news, such as Marcia Deihl, who was published in The Boston Globe; Felicia Nimue Ackerman from Providence, R.I., who is a frequent letter writer for The New York Times; Larry Penner with The New York Times; Frances Wideman from Birmingham, Ala.; Kenneth Zimmerman from Huntington Beach, Calif.; and Bobby “Shaggy” Crawford from New York, who has published letters in skateboarding magazines.
Writing letters to the editor provides citizens with a great way to change the world. It allows many regular citizens to say their own 2 cents in what happens in the world and gives high visibility to issues that might have been easily neglected and overshadowed in the recent news. And with this coronavirus, it allows people to cope with this bad pandemic and tragedy that is still getting worse and worse. The art of writing great letters to the editor will live on through the ages and never end or fade away.
— Steven Hawkins