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Writing an Op-Ed Article

Writing an opposite editorial (op-ed) article is a great way to expand your portfolio if you are an aspiring writer just starting out. These are the articles on the newspaper page opposite the editorial section. Op-ed articles are written in the same tone as an editorial piece but from an individual reader’s point of view.

You do not have to be associated with the publication or part of its regular staff of columnists and contributors. In fact, editors are always looking for well-written and informative articles from their readers.

Op-ed pieces are great for freelance writers to gain exposure and experience. It is an often-overlooked method for writers to get their foot in the door. 

Local papers must scramble to find new things to print and are often more likely to print an op-ed article from community residents. National papers are often flooded with submissions, but they are good ways for writers to become established. You can often query the larger publications with your previously published local work as credentials, giving you a better opportunity to be noticed.

Whether or not you have an opinion about current events—political, social, or otherwise—you can write for local or national newspapers. Op-ed pieces allow writers, both amateur and professional alike, to participate in public discourse about the issues that are most important to them. As long as you can intelligently and truthfully present your case, it little matters whether or not you believe what you are writing. In fact, arguing the opposite side of your opinion is a good way to practice your writing skills.

The best writers are those who keep up with the news and can offer a fresh slant or new approach. Newspapers focus on relevant journalism. Readers do not want to waste their time on articles that are based on outdated and tired arguments. Most editors will not accept them, so it is a waste of his and your time to submit one.

Op-ed editors know what their readers want to read. It is a good idea to read several weeks’ worth of previously published op-ed articles to get a feel for what the editor publishes. If you take the time to consider your audience’s interests carefully, the editor will be more likely to publish your article. Even though you receive no pay for this type of article, having it published looks good on your résumé.