Middlebury

Tips for Writing an Op-Ed

The rules are fairly universal, and the more in line you are with the basic requirements, the more likely you are to get some attention for your piece. Keep in mind that editors at major newspapers are choosing from hundreds of submissions each day, so don't be discouraged if you need to make multiple attempts.

  1. Keep it current.  Be sure your topic is relevant to current news.
  2. Be straightforward.  Don’t be subtle—get to your point.
  3. Keep it short.  600–750 words is the limit; use short sentences and paragraphs.
  4. Make your point in the first paragraph.
  5. Advocate your view.  Don’t feel the need to summarize other views.
  6. Provide answers.  Consider the questions readers will have—and answer them.
  7. Offer anecdotes.  Personal stories help make your point.
  8. Present solutions.  Always close with recommendations for solutions.
  9. Get it done while the news is fresh.  Complete your piece in
    one or two days.
  10. You know best.  Use your area of expertise to comment on current news.
  11. Different is good.  Humor, unexpected perspectives and quirky approaches can be refreshing.
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