How to Write an Op-Ed

Recommendations for Writing an Op-Ed

If you have more time and more to say, consider writing an op-ed. Most newspapers accept submissions for op-eds (opinion columns) of about 600-800 words. Newspapers are only able to print a handful of op-eds each day. Here are some tips to help yours get published and be as effective as possible.

  • Timeliness is key: if there is a hot topic in the news, don't wait to offer your opinion.
  • Make sure you have a clear argument and you state it explicitly in one sentence. Remember that readers may not be giving their newspaper full attention–they may be reading over breakfast or just skimming the op-ed page.
  • Don't use jargon and field-specific words or ideas. Most readers will not be familiar with your area of study, or even with concepts such as "shared governance' and "academic freedom." Make sure what you are talking about is clearly defined.
  • Explain why your argument is relevant to the reader. You could write, for example, that the quality of a local university affects the reputation and the economy of the whole city, which benefits everyone.
  • Include contact information. Most papers will verify before they publish.

Read some sample op-eds here.

Read guidelines for submitting an op-ed at the 100 largest newspaper in the country.