The term “op-ed” stands for Opinion Editorial. It is usually written by a guest columnist and not a regular journalist at the publication in which it is placed. It is used as a place where a guest columnist Normally, an Op-ed piece will live “opposite” the “editorial” page within the publication.
Op-eds should be kept to between 750 and 800 words. Different publishers allow for different lengths, so it is important to check the guidelines before writing.You should not submit a longer piece, but there is more flexibility for length with the online version than the printed publication.
The op-ed pages are coveted spaces where one’s thoughts are able to be seen by masses and they provide you with the opportunity to share your perspective in a way that is convincing, unique and engaging.
Op-eds are usually written by those who consider themselves as experts in an area and who want to influence others with their experience and or knowledge. Make sure that you establish your credibility and expertise early on in your piece. It’s important to establish your credibility and expertise. If you are deeply rooted in the issues in schools and have been working the front lines, you are an expert for sure! Consider where your piece will be published. If it is part of a national publication, be sure to relate your topic to wider issues so that you appeal to a broader spectrum of readers. For example, the fact that the mask mandated was not lifted in County X, underscores a wider problem with government overreach into our rights as parents to choose what is best for our children. Above all else, you want to keep readers interested so it is important to make your story as compelling as possible.
Readers are more likely to stay engaged if you include: research, anecdotes, quotes and evidentiary hyperlinks to related content.
Op-Ed Template Outline
TITLE by YOUR NAME
Lede paragraph: This is about 150 words or less. This establishes the news hook. It could be an anecdote. It could be the controversy brewing.
Follow up paragraph: This explains the lede paragraph further. This is about 100 words or less.
Main Paragraph: Here, you tell people why this is important to them. Your story may be about something locally, but it is indicative of a larger societal issue. Explain that connection and why it should matter to the reader.
Body of the op-ed: Do not exceed 500 words.
Closing graf: Do not exceed 100 words. This loops back to your opening statements and reinforces why you are telling this story in the first place. It ties up your argument and makes your issue resonate with the reader and moves them to where you intend. Do you want them to share your vision or point of view or move them to action? End with your vision, goal, final argument and call to action.