On Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor
Interested in writing an op-ed? Media Relations is happy to work with you to edit, pitch, and place your opinion piece or letter -- just give us a call at 781.283.3321. In the meantime, below are some tips to consider.
Keep it brief
Op-eds are typically between 600 - 800 words, depending on the publication. Letters are typically 150 words. The Op-Ed Project's website is a great resource, as it details the submission requirements for 50 major media outlets.
Have a strong point of view
Editors look for ideas and perspectives that are clear and uncommon. Op-eds that have a call to action typically carry more weight. See President Bottomly's article, "Why all colleges should think of themselves as women's colleges," published by the Washington Post.
Make it relevant
Your article will have a better chance of getting published if it: connects to breaking news; responds to a current editorial or popular opinion; is tied to a holiday; or puts forth an opinion in light of a major decision, such as an election or Supreme Court ruling.
Timing is everything
If you're responding to breaking news, try to submit your op-ed or letter as soon as possible. Editors will turn down articles they would otherwise publish if they are considered "too late" -- which can mean just days in the current media landscape.
Consider writing a Letter to the Editor
Letters to the Editor can be a highly effective way to make a strong point and demonstrate thought leadership. When published in a key outlet, letters can be highly visible and help to start conversations. As with op-eds, strong letters should be clear, concise, and timely. Check out former President H. Kim Bottomly's letter on leadership and global partnerships, published in The New York Times.
Be open to a variety of outlets
The op-ed submission process is quite competitive. According to The New York Times, their editors receive more than 1000 submissions each week. If an outlet decides to pass on your submission, don't be discouraged!
Media Relations can work with you to identify several outlets for your submission. Please keep in mind that editors will not publish a piece that's been submitted elsewhere, and it's good practice to give an outlet at least a day or two to review and respond. Given this timeframe, it's good to keep in mind at least three different media outlets when you're editing your article.