Write an Op-Ed in Your Local Paper

Posted On March 12, 2015 By | No Comments on Write an Op-Ed in Your Local Paper

One of the best ways to gain visibility for your organization and the issues you care about is to submit a timely, persuasive op-ed to a local newspaper.  Because Senators and Representatives pay close attention to what is happening in their districts, local media coverage can be quite effective in getting your message to them as well. [1]

Writing Your Op-Ed

  • Make only one point well. Remember to focus tightly on only one issue or idea — in the first paragraph.
  • Start with your strongest argument.
  • Have a clear editorial viewpoint.  Come down hard on one side of the issue.  Don’t equivocate.
  • Be the voice of reason. Express your opinion, and then base it on factual, researched, or first-hand information.
  • Use conversational language and avoid jargon.
  • Keep it brief. An op-ed should never be longer than 750 words. NEVER. Each newspaper has its own word limits, so check first.
  • Use short, punchy sentences.

Practical Tips

  • Submit your op-ed with a brief bio, along with information about COTS, and your phone number, email address, and mailing address. Include a cover letter to briefly introduce your credentials and explain why the issue is important to their readers.
  • When using email, avoid sending attachments that may set off spam filters. Instead send your op-ed in the body of the email.
  • Don’t be discouraged if your piece is not accepted. Rework your argument or approach the issue from another angle. Submit to another paper or wait for the right moment to pitch it again.


[1] Adapted from The National Rural Housing Coalition

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