Assignment: Letter of Praise or Protest

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Assignment: Letter of Praise or Protest
Write either a Letter of Praise or a Letter of Protest. You will write it in the format of a letter to an
editor. That means your letter will follow letter conventions (include your address, the address of
where it’s being sent, the date, a salutation and a closing—the yours truly or sincerely). For more
information about writing a letter, refer back to the Letter of Introduction assignment at the beginning
of the course.
Part of this assignment requires you to send this letter to an actual editor, or add part of it to a
comment thread on a news website. If you do the latter, you can make up the address and
salutation, but you must still include this in the letter you submit to be marked.
DROPBOX: Letter of Praise or Protest
1. Prepare the letter by selecting a decision, action, or movement that provokes you either
to support or criticize it. Emotional reaction should drive the letter, but an effective letter
has to make a point the reader understands. Some letters hit hot topics; others uncover
issues that people should know about.
2. Read some letters to the editor in your local paper to see what makes an effective letter
(usually the best letters get published, so this should be a good source of what makes a
good letter). You can also read The Globe and Mail’s letters to the editor (link on the
previous page.)
3. Send a copy of your finished letter to your local newspaper or magazine to see if it will
be published or add it (or part of it) to a comment thread on a news website.
4. If you are fortunate enough to have your letter appear in a newspaper (or magazine),
forward a copy (scan or picture or URL) of the published letter as it appears in the
newspaper for a bonus mark. If you submit it to a comment thread, take a screen
snapshot or provide the URL for a bonus mark.
Some characteristics of effective letters of praise and protest: timeliness, brevity,
fairness, clarity, and passion.
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Weak letters tend to ramble, lack focus, show excessive bias, exaggerate, shriek, or
confuse the issue—and usually do not appear in the newspaper.
Length: 500-600 words or 1-1.5 pages single-spaced
Coffee House – Peer Sharing: Post your “Read and Respond” formal media
response to the Coffee House discussion board to share with your peers and get
feedback on your writing. Be sure to read and comment on your classmates’
Assessment FOR Learning: Add your work to your ePortfolio. Share with your
teacher to invite feedback before handing your work in to the dropbox.
Assessment OF: This assignment will be evaluated for a grade or mark that will contribute to your overall final mark in this course.
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Praise or Protest Letter
What happened today in your world that cries out for praise or protest?
Want to do something about it?
Write a letter to an editor!
Now that you have written two responses based on a news article, it’s time to combine what you
learned for this next assignment. Chances are you often watch the news or read an article or even
hear a comment someone says that makes you very angry or very happy. Except we do not always
have a place to channel that anger and/or happiness … until now. Increasingly, there are more and
more places for people to voice their opinions. Traditionally, if you read something in the newspaper
that “got your goat” you would write a letter to that newspaper’s editor. And people still do. You can
read The National Post’s (one of Canada’s national newspapers) letters to the editor.
The National Post’s Letters to the Editor
You’ll also notice that many news websites, like the CBC’s, allow people to voice their opinion by
allowing “members” (one has to create a name and password) to write a comment after most
articles. Go to and you’ll notice most articles on the main page have several,
sometimes hundreds, of comments, ranging from praise to (often) criticism, jokes and serious asides.
Finally, you’ll recall that two of the journalists interviewed in the course both complained that blogs
may be ruining the integrity of journalism. A blog is a web log or diary/journal that anyone can create
and upload to the Internet about any topic they choose. There are many writers who got their writing
careers started by writing popular blogs that grabbed the attention of publishers.
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Diablo Cody, who wrote the screenplay for the movie Juno and won an Academy Award, got her
start writing a blog about her then rather unusual profession. Often people write blogs to vent about
things that bug them. How they ruin the integrity of journalism is that no one (usually) monitors these
blogs. Anyone can write about anything, and that anything can be untrue (not to mention full of
spelling mistakes and grammatical errors!). As journalist Andrew Wagstaff said, the Internet is like the
“wild west.” Be careful what you read and what you believe.
That being said, there are some very good blogs. Some are funny, poignant, informative and/or
beautiful. People use blogs to collect news items from other websites, to post pictures, to share
personal stories about sickness, work, school, children or traveling.
Usually blogs have a theme (book reviews, visual art, sports, celebrity gossip, fashion, politics, etc.)
and each post has something to do with that theme. Here’s a collection of interesting and popular
blogs, though I’m sure you know of many as well.
Bookninja was once the premier Canadian literary site, and one of the top literary sites in the world.
It was frequented by thousands of people from all around the globe and became a nexus for literary
news and opinion. Unfortunately, Bookninja has exited the literary criticism scene.
An Interview with a Book Ninja
“Exit the Book Ninja”
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Small Dead Animals is considered one of the better Canadian political blogs. As they say, “This is
just the voice of an ordinary Canadian yelling back at the radio: ‘You don’t speak for me!’”
Small Dead Animals
The Morning News: “Black and white and read all over.” More an online magazine than blog, based
out of Montreal.
The Morning News


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