Stars and Stripes' letters policy
Here is the policy for submitting letters to the editor as published in the Pacific, European and Mideast editions of Stars and Stripes. Included are guidelines and frequently asked questions. If you have any further questions, they should be sent to one of the addresses below.
We’d like to thank all our readers who have contributed to our letters page, and encourage those who haven’t to do so.
The letters to the editor page is one of the most frequently read pages of the paper. We thank you for your interest.
Fax, handwritten or e-mail — we take them all. E-mails are best. Please send cleanly typed pages in print we can read. Also hard on our eyes are those typed in all caps. Please limit all letters to 300 words. The best letters state your viewpoint concisely and without getting sidetracked.
Please be careful with acronyms. If you use any, include the spelled-out version. While you may take them for granted, they may be a complete mystery to others.
Make sure we know your letter is intended for publication. Label your envelope, cover sheet or subject heading: “Letter to the Editor.” Stars and Stripes editors get a lot of mail. Those addressed “Letter to the Editor” come to the Letters Department.
Opinion vs. complaint: We’re really an opinion page, not a complaint page. We’ll run your complaint if we find it valid and without malice. But we prefer letters that beget letters — that offer sound opinions on current events, editorials or military-related matters. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone’s opinion counts.
Please proofread your letters closely.
E-mail: With e-mail, it’s easy to quickly dash off a letter without checking it for spelling, grammar or punctuation. Have a spouse, friend or co-worker read your letter before sending it. A second set of eyes never hurts.
Please stick to one subject. Letters that list complaints or that skip from one subject to another are often rejected or heavily edited.
E-mail us at email@example.com.
Requirements: Please include a signature (where possible), name, rank, installation (or city and country in which you reside while serving overseas), APO address and phone number. We must have this information before we even think of processing your letter. Sometimes we have questions about your letter and need to contact you. All letters published in Stars and Stripes will include the name, rank, city and country (or state) of the writer.
We also have to verify letters. We understand if you can’t sign your e-mail. But please don’t forget to provide all of the other pertinent information required of a handwritten or typed missive.
Thirty-day policy: We don’t allow a second letter from the same letter writer within 30 days. Call us if you can’t remember when the most recent one ran; we’ll be glad to tell you.
Poetry: This is an opinion page. Although your poem may be sincere and quite eloquent, it is not meant for the letters page.
Editing: We reserve the right to edit for taste, clarity and length. Most letters are edited. We often shorten long letters, clarify confusing statements or correct grammatical errors. If a letter is potentially libelous, slanderous or appears to have been written with malice or harmful intent, it will be edited or rejected.
Multiple writers: We accept one writer per letter only. If you and your spouse or friend or co-worker wrote a letter together, please inform us as to which name we should publish or simply submit it with the one name you have chosen.
Anonymous letters: The first thing we look for is a name. If there is none, we won’t publish the letter.
Frequently asked questions
“When will my letter run?” This depends on the number of letters we handle. It’s usually within a one-week period.
We date-stamp letters and try to run them on a first-in, first-out basis, assuming the writer has supplied the required information. That’s why a phone number is important.
“Why hasn’t my letter run?” Generally it’s because it did not meet the conditions listed above. Sometimes, however, the turnaround is not as quick as you were anticipating. For example, we receive more letters during times of war. Also, there’s the possibility that we didn’t receive it. Feel free to contact us; we’ll be glad to give you the status.
“Why did you change the title of my letter?” The headline on a letter we publish, just like the headline on a column or news article we publish, must conform to our style. Sometimes your title is too long or does not conform to policy. To that end, please make sure that your letter starts where you want it to and that it isn’t written on the assumption that the headline you submitted will appear with the letter.
“Why are Stripes’ military abbreviations for ranks different from the military’s?” We use rank abbreviations and other style guidelines that are set by the Associated Press Stylebook. We also have our own style guidelines for words and phrases not covered by the AP guide.
We hope these letter-writing tips help to get your letter published. We publish these guidelines just twice a year, so if you wish to write a letter to Stripes or just hold out the possibility of doing so in the future, please save it and refer to in when necessary. We’re always happy to hear from those who want to comment on published articles, columns and letters and other military matters.
In a nutshell
Provide us with: full name, address (preferably an APO) and a phone number where we can reach you during normal duty hours.
Keep your letter fairly short, to the point and free of malice.
Sign it if it’s sent postal or by fax.
Send it to the correct location.
Send your letters to:
Stars and Stripes
APO AP 96337-5002
Via fax from Japan:
Stars and Stripes
Via fax from outside Japan:
[Country code + 81] 3-3408-8936
Europe and Mideast
Stars and Stripes
APO AE 09211
[Country code +49]
Stars and Stripes
civilian +49 6155 601 400/208;