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Op-Ed Writing & Submission Tips

Writing Successful Op-Eds and Letters To The Editor are A great way to highlight your scholarly background and expertise is through the publication of opinion-editorial (op-ed) columns and letters to the editor in newspapers and magazines.

  • Keep it current: Be sure your topic is relevant to current news.
  • Be straightforward: There's no room for subtlety in an op-ed piece.
  • Keep it short: 600-750 words is the limit; also, use short sentences and short paragraphs, each offering evidence to support your point.
  • Make your point: Preferably in the first paragraph.
  • Advocate your view: Don't feel the need to summarize other views.
  • Provide answers: Consider the questions readers are likely to have and answer them.
  • Offer anecdotes: Personal stories can help make your point.
  • Present solutions: Wrap up by recommending fixes for the problems you identify.
  • Get it done while the news is fresh: Give yourself one day only to complete your piece.
  • You know best: Use your own area of expertise to hook into the current news topic.
  • Different is good: Humorous asides, unexpected perspectives, quirky approaches are welcome.

Placements to consider: Typically the following news outlets run three to four outsider op-eds a day. Read the opinion pieces regularly to learn what gets published.

  • Spokesman-Review
  • Spokane Journal of Business
  • Cheney Free Press
  • Seattle Times
  • Seattle P-I
  • The New York Times
  • Washington Post
  • Los Angeles Times
  • Boston Globe
  • Other Internet outlets

Once you’ve written a piece — or even considered writing a piece — public affairs is here to help you with:

  • Editing your final draft.
  • Submitting your piece to the appropriate paper.
  • Following up on your submission.

Once you’ve submitted your piece, if a publication shows interest, you MUST:

  • Be accessible: Provide contact info — and be available for editing, etc. — for up to 48 hours.
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