WHAT IS AN OP-ED?

An opinion or commentary piece is written about a news issue by someone outside our newsroom. The author could be anyone from an elected official to your next door neighbor. You can find them online at inquirer.com/opinion and on weekdays, in print on the editorial pages at the back of the A section. On Sundays, opinions run in the Currents section, which will sometimes explore a special theme or issue.

Opinion or commentary pieces are sometimes called op-eds, meaning opposite of editorial, a reference to their traditional placement on the page in the print newspaper. The Inquirer is looking for pieces that are well-written with a fact-based viewpoint. That primarily takes the shape of commentary on news events, but we also strive to publish reflections on cultural trends, and the occasional personal or explanatory essay.

Op-eds are reviewed and edited by:

» Deputy Editor, Opinion: Erica Palan epalan@inquirer.com

» Coverage Editor, Opinion: Elena Gooray egooray@inquirer.com


TIPS FOR PITCHING OP-EDS TO THE INQUIRER

Basics

  • 650 words is a good length. We have a little wiggle room in either direction, but not a ton.
  • Include links to sourcing. There are many reasons this is a good idea. It makes it easier for us to fact-check/verify, speeding up the editing process. It’s a way to drive our readers to your own website. It helps Google recognize your piece, boosting its potential to get readers from search engines.
  • Include 1-2 lines of bio for the author(s). And limit it to two authors.
  • Send the whole draft. Please do not send a pitch. The easiest way for us to assess your piece is to look at a draft.
  • Paste it into the body of an email. Due to security reasons, we do not like to open attachments to emails. We cannot edit PDFs and Word or Google docs are often challenging, too.
  • Don’t send headshots. We’ll ask if we want them.

Other helpful tips

There are no hard and fast rules about what topics we cover on the op-ed page, but some general parameters:

  • Tie your op-ed to news issues. There are evergreen topics — opioids, poverty, climate change, etc — but the newsier your piece is, the more appealing it will be.
  • Local is better than national. We do run the occasional op-ed from a contributor on national issues, but our sweet spot is a national issue with a strong relevance in the Philadelphia region.
  • Timeliness matters — and please keep in mind that news moves much faster than academia.
  • Personal essays can resonate. We don’t publish a ton of personal essays, but we do occasionally do themed issues of the Sunday Currents section when personal essays are a good fit.
  • Consider a call to action. It’s not always possible but if you can tie your piece to an action readers can take — voting on a ballot measure, for example — that’s ideal.
  • No endorsements. The Editorial Board will issue endorsements in major elections, but we do not run endorsements written individuals or other organizations.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Op-eds and commentary pieces are not direct responses to Inquirer reporting. If you’d like to reply to an Inquirer story, you may submit a letter to the editor to letters@inquirer.com. Letters should be no longer than 150 words. Please include home address and day and evening phone number. Letters run in the Inquirer six days a week on the editorial pages in the A section. Letters are not published online.