Op-ed Guidelines

An op-ed, or opinion editorial is an essay that presents your opinion or thoughts about a specific issue. They can aim to persuade others or can be used to educate the public. They can also have the side effect of substantiating the writer as an expert on the subject.

Op-ed pieces are usually 600-700 words, anything longer will not be considered. They may be written by newspaper staff but more often than not are submitted by readers with a particular expertise and opinion.

To start off: Sum up your opinion in a single sentence then find the facts and anecdotes that support your statement. An op-ed is always about your perspective on the issue. Put your opinion forward in a persuasive and definitive manner. Be passionate in stating your position.

Write as if you are convincing a friend. Make it conversational and keep the jargon and the abbreviations out. Remember, your audience is probably not as familiar with your subject as you are. Present your supporting details cleanly and concisely. Keep it simple.

Your wrap up: In the concluding paragraph, take your argument a step further and give your readers what you hope will be done next. Give them information about how to follow up or what you hope they’ll do. Make the final sentence as compelling as the first one. If you started with an example, feel free to come full circle and reference your original point.

You can submit your op-ed piece to the publication of your choice following the guidelines they list on their editorial page. Be sure to include your name, title or affiliation that substantiates you as an expert on the topic and a telephone number at which you can easily be reached.

If you do submit an op-ed, please let the Public Relations office know about it by phone (848-7404) or email.