Standing up for press freedom

August 16, 2018
by Colin Smith, Director of Communications

I set my alarm early this morning to read today’s editorials standing up for freedom of the press. As part of my job, I have the honor, challenge, and fun of getting to work with editorial writers across the country, from tiny community newspapers to the largest national dailies.

Along the way, I’ve visited local newsrooms in all different parts of the country. More often than not, there are lots of empty desks. Media jobs have simply disappeared over the last decade, even as the news cycle accelerates. Today journalists are doing a bigger job, on a tighter timeline, with less help. And now they’re facing dangerous rhetoric from the White House, threatening their independence, their safety, and their role in democracy.

Among the journalists I know, some I look to as mentors, others as friends, and many for their smart, insightful analysis of what’s happening in the country and world. Others, I disagree with most of what they write. But what I think of them as individuals is not the point.

They are not the enemy. They are not the opposition. They are not fake.

At RESULTS, we always encourage advocates to write into the paper as a way to drive change on Capitol Hill (more times than I count, we’ve heard from congressional offices that the sole reason they took an action was because of something they saw in the media. And I’m not referring to cable news or the New York Times — but to the local papers in the communities members of Congress represent).

But today, for just a moment, we’re setting aside our advocacy agenda in our media work. If you haven’t already, I’d invite you to join me in writing a letter to the editor of your favorite paper just to say thanks, to show that you care, and to let them know that you stand with them.


Template Letter:

Remember, the best letters are the ones that come straight from the heart. But you can use the template below to get you started. Not sure where to submit? Check the “opinion” section of your local paper’s website — most have a form or an email address like “[email protected]”.

To the editor,

In response to your editorial on press freedom:

To all of you whose names we know from the bylines, and the many others who make this newspaper happen but whose names we never see, let me just say “thank you.”

I may not always agree with what the paper prints, but I stand with you today and every day. I am a regular visitor to our congressional representatives, where I see firsthand the impact the paper has on their decisions (whether they like what you write or not). You are not our enemy – you are an essential part of our democracy. Whether you’re writing front page stories, cleaning the newsroom each night, or delivering the paper each morning, I am grateful.

[Your Name]

[City, State]

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