Resources for Faculty

Writing an Effective Opinion Piece

Op-ed sub­mis­sions can be an effec­tive way to com­mu­ni­cate your pro­fes­sion­al opin­ions – and per­haps your research – while adding to the pub­lic con­ver­sa­tion about a top­ic.

  1. Focus on one main idea or a sin­gle theme in your op-ed.
  2. Have a clear edi­to­r­i­al view­point. State that point in your first para­graph, and then pro­ceed to back up your opin­ion or prove your the­sis.
  3. Look for oppor­tu­ni­ties to wed your spe­cif­ic area of exper­tise or inter­est with news devel­op­ments.
  4. Time­li­ness is cru­cial. One day can mean the dif­fer­ence between accep­tance and rejec­tion.
  5. If you can, be con­tro­ver­sial in your opin­ion.
  6. Always write for the lay read­er. Be clear and straight­for­ward. Use sim­ple words, short declar­a­tive sen­tences. Even the braini­est of read­ers will lose inter­est if your sub­mis­sion is replete with long, com­plex sen­tences and para­graphs.
  7. Make your sub­mis­sion as argu­men­ta­tive as pos­si­ble. This does not mean it should be quar­rel­some, but it should fol­low method­olog­i­cal rea­son­ing.
  8. Express a strong call to action. Write with pas­sion and “fire in your gut.”
  9. Take pains to edu­cate the read­er with your insight, but don’t con­de­scend or preach.
  10. Know that the edi­tor reserves the right to edit or con­dense your con­tri­bu­tion.
  11. Offer exclu­siv­i­ty to your out­let of choice. Don’t approach a sec­ond out­let until you’ve been declined by the first one.
  12. Be patient: writ­ers whose sub­mis­sions are con­sid­ered for pub­li­ca­tion are gen­er­al­ly noti­fied with­in 1–2 weeks. If your top­ic is so time­ly that you can’t wait that long, let the edi­tor know you’re mov­ing on and try anoth­er out­let.

Sub­mis­sion Tips:

  • Sub­mis­sions should be about 650 words. Some out­lets will accept longer sub­mis­sions for the week­end edi­tion.
  • Include your name, cre­den­tials (briefly stat­ed), mail­ing address and day­time phone num­ber.
  • Include “Op-Ed Sub­mis­sion” in sub­ject line.
  • Include the sub­mis­sion in the body of the email, not as an attach­ment.

Need help?

If you are look­ing for guid­ance in writ­ing your op-ed, or assis­tance with edit­ing or pitch­ing it, please con­tact


Globe and Mail
Natasha Has­san, Com­ment Edi­tor | | more infor­ma­tion online

Toron­to Star
Scott Col­by, Opin­ion Edi­tor |

Maclean’s Mag­a­zine

Nation­al Post
Com­ments Edi­tor 

New York Times | | 212.556.1831

The Wash­ing­ton Post | | 202.334.7471

Los Ange­les Times | | 213.237.2121

Guardian (UK) | | Blog: