The reader’s letter is the written response to a published article (newspaper), which is why it serves to present a personal opinion. The reader ‘s letter, like the commentary and the review, falls into the journalistic realm. It makes it possible to present one’s own point of view to a public and is used in school to present a position and to train one’s own rhetorical abilities (→ writing).
According to this, the reader’s letter shows a rejection or an affirmative reaction to an article (usually a newspaper or a magazine) and thus refers to the content of the article. However, it is also conceivable that we exclusively appreciate or even attack the style of the article and refer less to the actual content. A reader’s letter to a published reader’s letter (→ Styling) is also possible.
Note: In this article, we would like to show you which characteristics characterize the text form, how you can write a reader letter yourself, and what to look for in this regard. We will also address the structure of the reader’s letter and provide tips on the design. We would also like to point out the difference between free and text-related readers’ letters.
What is a reader’s letter?
The reader’s letter serves to represent his own position in relation to a position shown in a journalistic article. Sometimes, however, this can also be attributed to a blog contribution or some other form of written expression.
In doing so, the reader takes up a content, corrects, comments, supplements, rejects, or corrects them correctly, whereupon the editorial staff of the respective medium either publishes the letter or comments, or merely writes a personal response to the sender.
The newspaper for cities, towns and villages, especially for the dear country folk old and young (due to the red cover also called Rothe Zeitung), was the first German-language newspaper, which actively prompted the sending of readers’ letters. The Rothe Zeitung was published by the Protestant pastor Hermann Bräss from 1786 until his death in 1797 → Literaturepochen
The reader’s letter is usually sent by e-mail, letter or fax to the editor of the respective newspaper. Newspapers have sections for this purpose, which represent a collection of such submissions. Usually, the letters sent are published in abridged and commented form.
In newspapers, there is usually an employee who saves the consignments and separates the wheat from the chaff. Such a pre-selection is important, as large magazines are overloaded by many communications and so not everyone has to see the submissions. It is often the case that letters that have a short-term relevance or a mistake in the reporting have the greatest chance of an imprint.
Note: In the linguistic sciences, readers’ letters are regarded as judicial text forms, as are the glosses, film criticism, review, book discussion, diagnosis or the expert opinion. Judicial means that these text forms are judging and assess a situation and judge from the outside.
Write a reader letter
As a matter of principle, every letter that clearly refers to a contribution is to be evaluated as a reader’s letter. Consequently, there are no formalities for designing such a letter. However, the reader’s letter is also used as an essay in German lessons, with clear rules.
What is important is that an argument is called for in the lesson, which means that a single aspect of the original contribution is selected and argued critically. Here the simple expression of opinion, as in the journalistic area or with private persons usual, is no longer sufficient and some things have to be considered when writing.
General rules for writing a reader letter
Make clear which part of the article you are referring to and correctly identify where and when you found it.
Also refer to the role you are taking. Are you an expert in the respective field or are you possibly even affected by the subject?
In principle, make sure you formulate your own arguments logically and objectively. This increases the chance that the whole is printed and also works for others more comprehensibly.
Reveal your arguments with clear examples and also tackle new aspects of the subject that have not been illuminated in the original article.
Structure of the reader letter
The following structure is to be understood as a guideline. This means that you can vary in principle and can formulate the textual design more freely.
Possible design for a reader letter
Salutation: Either entry, if apparent, of j