Writing an Op-Ed Article

An "Op-Ed" or "opposite the editorial page" is a piece in a newspaper in which readers' and public figures can express viewpoints and/or respond to particular news events. An Op-Ed is generally a short (600 - 800 words) article expressing an opinion or viewpoint on a recent news topic. Check your paper's guidelines for an op-ed before submitting.

  • Your issue should be timely and relevant. Discuss a recent public or legislative event that might have affected the community. Or, relate it to recent news pieces, upcoming holidays, or anniversaries
  • Stick to one issue. You only have 750 to 800 words. Make one point clearly and persuasively
  • Humanize your article. Illustrations, anecdotes, and personal stories help explain and bring complicated issues to life. But make sure to write in a succinct manner, avoid excess emotional references. Keep your writing professional
  • Write in a friendly tone, avoid jargon, and acronyms
  • End with a bang. Your final paragraph is as important as your opening paragraph. Be sure to summarize your argument in one strong final paragraph
  • Include your contact information, word count, and a short biographical statement about yourself, including where you live and any relevant experience you have. Follow up. Most op-ed editors will respond to you within a week. If you haven't heard back in that time frame, or if your piece is particularly time sensitive, you can make one follow-up phone call to be sure it was received and ask about its status.
  • Most of this advice has been collected from a variety of sources across the Internet. More advice can be found here and here.