After you have written a letter

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After you have written a letter, where do you send it? This section is intended to give you the information you need to guide your message to its destination.

The Internet is helpful in providing Web home pages. There you are likely to find E-mail addresses urging Internet users to contact us. (Mailing addresses and phone numbers, however, are rarely listed.)

Gradually you will develop your own list of useful contacts, allowing you to keep abreast of changes that occur often in the communi-cations field.

Contacting the National Media

This section contains lists to simplify locating addresses for the major national media. Because of rapid changes in the media industry, its a good idea to double check any personal names before using them.

A media list of your own is perhaps the best way to have frequently needed contact information at your fingertips. You will see it develop gradually as you write letters or E-mail your views to the media.

National Newspapers The most likely reason for getting in touch with a national newspaper is to respond to an article or column  typically, with a letter to the editor intended for publication. Letters to the editor are sent to the address listed on the editorial page. But lots of letters dont get published because of limited space. If you can, send copies of your letter to the reporter, columnist, or critic who wrote the article, and also to the executive editor of the paper who will forward it down the line. You may also send copies of leters to the appropriate section editor  news, editorial, arts and entertainment, health and science, lifestyle, business, or magazine section. Even if your letter is not published, it will deliver its message to important people. A call to the newspaper is the easiest way to get the names and numbers of the editors and critics.

National Magazines Most magazines give contact information in their Letters to the Editor section. They also list their E-mail and Web sites.

National Broadcast Media: TV, Cable, Radio The addresses and phone numbers of major broadcasters are listed in this section. Address letters to President, or call the main operator for the chief executives name. If you wish to write to the programs producer, his or her name will appear in the broadcast credits. For the phone number of a particular national program, call the national broadcasters main operator. Another way to get contact information is from a local affiliate of the national broadcaster. If none of these options work, call your library and see if they give reference information over the phone. If you go to the library, a media directory such as the Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media would be the place to look. Lastly, there may be a Viewer Comment option on the national broadcasters Web site.

Contacting the Local Media

The place to start, when looking for contact information for a local media organization, is probably the newspaper or broadcast itself. All of your comments, in praise or in protest, will interest the journalist who covered the story. If you read it in the newspaper, take down the name of the reporter who wrote the story.

If youd like to speak with him or her, look for the newspapers telephone number  its on the editorial page or near the beginning of the newspaper  and ask the operator to connect you. Try not to call after 4:00 P.M., as thats when reporters are feeling the most pressure to finish their stories. If youd like to write a letter to the editor, ask the operator for the name of the Editorial Page editor (and, if you wish, the fax number). Its always a good idea to address this editor  like all editors  by name.