Make Your Op-Ed Stand Out

Benya Clark
4 min readNov 3, 2018
Photo courtesy of Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Op-eds are my favorite part of the newspaper. They provide a unique perspective by giving non-journalist members of the community a platform to weigh in on the news. Op-ed writers never fail to surprise me with the interesting insights they draw from their professional expertise and personal experiences. Op-eds also tend to have a far more varied writing style than the rest of the paper, which provides a nice break from the often-dry news.

Not only do I enjoy reading op-eds, but I enjoy writing them as well. Even in the age of the internet, newspaper op-eds remain one of the most effective ways of getting your ideas in front of a massive audience. Midsize-city newspapers can have circulation numbers in the tens of thousands, and the world’s largest newspapers reach millions. If you want your opinion heard, don’t overlook the power of a well-timed op-ed.

In order to reach a newspaper’s audience though, you first have to get past the editor. Most newspapers receive more op-eds than they have space to print, so editors can afford to be selective when reviewing submissions. In order to have your op-ed chosen, you have to make it stand out from the pack.

Solid writing and a topical subject are both absolute musts, but they’re not enough to ensure your article’s selection. In addition, you need to have a unique angle that sets your writing apart from what has already been written on the topic.

Newspaper editors publish op-eds because they want to add something to the discussion which an objective news article wouldn’t accomplish. When you write an op-ed, start by reading the newspaper’s prior coverage of the topic, and then ask yourself what you can add to it. If your op-ed is simply repeating facts which have already been published elsewhere, then it is very unlikely to get picked up, no matter how strong the writing is. Instead, You can maximize your chance of getting published by approaching the news with a new insight that none of the previous coverage considered.

If you’re interested in a news topic but struggling to find a unique angle, consider the following sources:

Career Expertise

The most common type of op-ed is one in which the writer draws on their work background to make sense of a particular aspect of the…

Benya Clark

I’m a lawyer turned writer from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, and more. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter at