The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

Writing Op-Eds

Op-Eds (referring to the page opposite of the editorial page) refer to articles written expressing the author’s opinion. They are longer than letters to the editor and allow for more opinion, but can be harder to get printed in a paper.

Here are some tips that will help you get your piece in the paper:

  1. Know the paper’s style. Every paper has different expectations. The average is usually from about 400 – 750 words, but look at the op-eds in your paper to see what is typical; don’t exceed that. Be careful to follow all requirements set by newspaper.

  2. Pull people in. Op-eds should begin with a lead, similar to that of a feature piece in a newspaper, which grabs the reader and pulls them in to the piece. You can be more stylistic in op-eds than in letters or press releases, but the language should remain straightforward. Offer the statistics on the topic, or present a personal narrative of a survivor.

  3. Look into ghostwriting. Ghostwriting refers to writing a column that another person signs. Because op-eds are difficult to get printed, it may be a good idea to ask a local leader to sign an op-ed that you ghostwrite.

  4. Keep it timely. Be careful that you don’t just give basic background about the context; try to focus on the most current aspect of the topic and the policies being debated. Unlike letters, op-eds do not have to always be written in response to something specific, but they should still be referencing the situation in the most current way possible.

  5. Mention your elected officials. Always try to bring up your elected officials, praising or criticizing them for their action to end genocide, and give specific steps that the official can take next. Writing about elected officials may make it more likely for an op-ed to get printed, and can be very effective in getting their attention!

  6. It’s okay to provide lists. Many effective op-eds include lists of steps that the reader (or desicionmakers) should take.

  7. Include your contact info. Editors usually have to call you to confirm authorship, so don’t forget to include your phone number and any other requested information in your submission.

  8. Ask STAND for help. If you want guidance while writing an Op-Ed, or just want another pair of eyes to take a look at it, e-mail with your piece. We hold op-ed trainings and prepare guides on specific topics through our Action Committees.