Working With The News Media: Writing an Opinion Editorial (Op-ed)
If part of your promotion plan for your Communities Talk event is reaching out to print or online outlets, then an opinion editorial, or op-ed, is an excellent way to engage your audience. The content also can be adapted for social media.
- Contact the opinion section editor at your selected outlet and pitch your story. Some publications will have a dedicated opinion section editor, while smaller publications may have a deputy editor who handles all commentary publications.
- Follow all editorial instructions (e.g., article length, typically 500–800 words; format; and lead time). If the instructions make it clear that the outlet will only consider completed op-eds, write your commentary and paste it under the pitch letter to the editor. Do not attach the document unless specifically requested.
- Deliver clear messages about underage drinking and add a call to action (e.g., attend your Communities Talk event).
- Integrate reliable and quotable data. Look at sources such as National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the Report to Congress on Underage Drinking.
- Ask a prominent community leader who is supporting your Communities Talk event to share a byline on your op-ed whenever possible. Their name makes it more likely that the piece will be used, and it lends greater weight to the message.
- Conduct an online search of the title after your op-ed has been published to see if other publications/organizations have picked up the piece.
- Check the comments section if the article has been published in an online edition. You might respond to a comment or use feedback to modify your key messages.
The template below provides an example of how to write an op-ed for your meeting. Remember to make the piece specific to your meeting and your community and use relevant data that is recently published.
Opinion Editorial Template (DOCX | 141KB)