Letters to the Editor

For centuries, the dominant form of audience feedback has been the “letter to the editor,” or LTE, and examples of LTEs can be found as early as the newsbooks of the mid-17th century. The standard form is that of a personal opinion or observation that is intended for publication—thus, an LTE is an “open letter” to the reading public rather than a private note to a publication’s editor. The LTE format was so common in print newspapers and magazines by the 20th century that the form was adapted to electronic media, such as call-in radio shows, “talkback” features on TV news shows, and online comment forums (including social media feeds) tied to digital media. This entry discusses LTEs dating back to the 1600s, the ...

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