An op-ed column or opinion essay lets authors and others use the power of their words to influence opinions on a topic by making an argument for a particular perspective or solution. It has to run when the topic is still in the news. Pre-write your op-ed column or essay It can be hard for a busy author to react that quickly, though. Not everyone can drop everything and write an effective op-ed after learning about a breaking story.
Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets!
Susan Shapiro July 27, Opinionated editorial essays are often the most fun, fast and furious pieces to get into print—especially for nonfamous writers with strong opinions and day jobs in other fields. So if you have an engaging, unusual point of view on a current public conundrum, along with a relevant platform e.
I once sent a hastily written kvetch about a Kmart opening in my Greenwich Village neighborhood to The New York Times at noon, had an acceptance by 2 p.
Here are the essential elements of a successful and sellable op-ed.
I submitted my Kmart commentary the week the local branch opened, which, luckily, coincided with a front-page debate about superstores infiltrating Manhattan. Timeliness is essential with this genre, especially now that online news sites can update as often as they choose.
The presidential election was hot for op-ed writers until Nov. If the Fourth of July is next week, your patriotic piece might already be too late.
Retool it for Labor Day. Holidaysare reliable hooks because they happen every year, so you can plan ahead or try again next year. Avoid being mild-mannered, tactful or diplomatic, as well as offering both sides of the story. An argument is much better than a discussion.
Just make sure you do have authority. Unless you have fought in the Iraq war, have lost a family member there or are from Iraq, your chances of selling a piece about it are slim.
Even if you can pen a smart argument on a topical subject, nobody wants to print what everyone already knows. Most of the op-ed pieces my students have published over the years—in large publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post as well as small ones like The Star Ledger—are between and words.
Longer pieces tend to be penned by well-known scribes, senators and steady columnists— not freelancers. Beware of making too many New York or Los Angeles references in a piece aimed at The Detroit News or a website with national or international readers. Similarly, financial references and other such factors should depend on demographics.
If you want to publish in lots of op-ed pages, develop multiple personalities, like the woman in the old Sally Field movie Sybil. To comment on parenting issues, mention that you have four children. If you want to interest the editor of Forward a Jewish publicationThe Irish Times or Audrey an Asian lifestyle magazinestate your religion or ethnicity in the cover letter, the piece itself and your bio.
I have many identities for my various voices. Editors are also reluctant to run pieces trashing another specific article in a newspaper or magazine. Furthermore, a rant wrapped solely around one movie, book, play or TV show is a review, not an op-ed.
But maybe they never received your submission because of a fluke. To make sure your op-ed landed where it was directed, follow up politely within a week. The squeaky writer gets the clip—and the check! Click here to order your copy in print. If you prefer a digital download of the issue, click here.Writing an opinion column for a newspaper or magazine offers the chance to air your feelings about a hot topic -- and maybe even influence public opinion.
Effective columns share clarity of thought, consistency of tone and concrete examples to frame the central argument. Aug 27, · How to Write a Newspaper Column. In this Article: Article Summary Developing and Sharing Your Views Choosing Your Column Topic Engaging Your Audience Formatting Your Column Sample Newspaper Columns Community Q&A Writing a newspaper column provides space for a columnist to share their opinions or analyze a chosen topic using their own voice%(41).
Pre-write your op-ed column or essay It can be hard for a busy author to react that quickly, though. Not everyone can drop everything and write an effective op-ed after learning about a breaking story. Sep 21, · Write about your opinion.
Unlike more traditional forms of journalism (such as news reports or articles), a column is by nature biased and opinionated. Think of a topic that you are passionate about and that you have a strong opinion on when figuring out your content. It will be a lot easier to write a column if you care about the subject%(78).
Write double-spaced words or less (fewer is always better) for newspapers, but your piece can go longer for your blog. But remember, shorter is always better. Include a brief bio, along with your phone number, email address, and mailing address at the bottom if your article goes to a newspaper.
The great growth area in journalism, and a product of fatter newspapers. Columns, like features, come in many forms. They are defined by ownership; the column "belongs" to its author who has that.