e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

How to Write a Good Op-EdFaculty & Staff Resources

...Culled from advice given by editors around the country:

  • When deciding on your topic, narrow your scope to something tha pertains to the readership of that paper. Do not write about oil rights in Alaska if you are sending your op-ed to Tennessee.
  • Make your argument accessible to a general audience, not just an academic one.
  • Make your point early on and make sure it is clear. The first sentence should reveal exactly what you intend to write about.
  • Don't just attack other groups; make your own point about an issue.
  • Bring in local connection to a national issue if possible.
  • Demonstrate the standing that you have regarding the issue. People will be convinced of your dedication if you show them where you are coming from.
  • Avoid writing about tired subjects.
  • Know something about the paper you are sending your piece to and the type of pieces they print and adjust accordingly.
  • Do not use profane language or commit libel.
  • Check the newspaper's guidelines for their rules regarding op-eds. Some papers will only print your op-ed if it has not been sent to another paper. You can check the guidelines for all major papers at this website.

Additional information on editorials and op-eds may be found at the web address below, or at "Tools for Citizens", 2020 Vision.