Opinion submission guidelines: Op-eds, commentary and letters to the editor | Philadelphia Inquirer
Tips for pitching The Philadelphia Inquirer's Opinion section.
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 opinion pieces online at inquirer.com/opinion on weekdays, and in print on the editorial pages at the back of the A section. On Sundays, opinions run in a separate section of the print edition, 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. We also feature daily editorial cartoons in print, which represent the opinion of the individual artist.
Op-eds should be submitted using the form at the bottom of this page. Submissions sent by email or other means will not be considered for publication. Submissions are reviewed and edited by opinion editors:
TIPS FOR PITCHING OPINIONS TO THE INQUIRER
The Inquirer strives to present a diverse range of views from a wide variety of writers on our opinion platforms. Our goal is to elevate civic — and civil — discourse. When assessing pieces, editors consider both the source (who wrote the piece) as well as the content (what the piece says). We emphasize facts, always, and appreciate when a writer has a distinctive and compelling voice. We believe that everyone has the ability to write an opinion piece, and we’re eager to work with first-time writers as well as seasoned professionals.
650 words is a good length. We have a little wiggle room in either direction, but not a ton.
Include hyperlinks to sourcing. There are many reasons this is a good idea. It makes it easier for us to fact-check, speeding up the editing process. It also helps online search engines recognize your piece, boosting its potential to gain readers.
Include 1-2 lines of bio for the author(s). And please limit it to two authors.
Send the whole draft. We prefer this to a pitch.
Submit the piece using the form below. For security reasons, we discourage submissions in the form of 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 that.
Once you have submitted a draft of an op-ed to be considered for publication, please allow our editors five business days to review it. If you do not hear from one of our editors in that timeframe, you should feel free to submit the article elsewhere.
Other helpful guidance
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 prefer submissions rooted in local issues, or national issues with a strong relevance to the Philadelphia region.
Timeliness matters — Please keep in mind that news moves much faster than most other fields, especially academia.
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 by individuals or other organizations.
A few other things that we don’t accept: open letters, poetry, petitions, public service announcements, and press releases.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Responses to articles in The Inquirer — including editorials, columns, op-eds and commentary pieces — should be made in the form of a letter to the editor. Letters should be emailed to email@example.com. Letters should be 200 words, at most. Writers should include their home address and day and evening phone number to allow for verification by our letters team. Letters are published in the Inquirer six days a week on the editorial pages and online.
An editorial is an opinion about a matter of public interest or policy researched and written by our Editorial Board, a group of journalists separate from the newsroom who meet frequently to discuss and debate issues. Unlike news stories, which are solely fact-driven, and written by reporters, editorials use facts and persuasive writing to advocate, champion, argue, critique, and suggest ways to make the region better.
The Editorial Board routinely discusses issues of the day to decide what to editorialize on and, during election campaigns, which candidates or ballot measures to endorse. News reporters and editors do not participate in these discussions. The Board’s opinions are not a consideration in news coverage.
The Editorial Board is led by Richard G. Jones, managing editor of the Opinion Desk. Members of the Board include:
Jenice Armstrong, columnist
Will Bunch, national columnist
Luis F. Carrasco, deputy opinion editor
Paul Davies, opinion editor-at-large and senior editorial writer
Devi Lockwood, commentary and ideas editor
Alison McCook, opinion features editor and director, Sunday Opinion
Daniel Pearson, editorial writer
Trudy Rubin, Worldview columnist
Helen Ubiñas, columnist
Prior to each election, the Inquirer’s Editorial Board identifies the races where an endorsement can help readers understand where candidates stand on issues and why we think voters should support (or reject) a particular candidate.
We think all elections are important and try to cover as many as we can. We research the candidates’ backgrounds through our own reporting, as well as through the work of our newsroom colleagues.
The Board hosts meetings with candidates running in contested races, where we ask them about their stance on the issues we think are most important to their constituents. The meetings are on the record, and political reporters and editors are invited to participate, but they do not weigh in on the endorsement process.
Unlike reporters, columnists are encouraged to include their opinions and viewpoints when presenting their reporting. Inquirer columnists, including Will Bunch, Trudy Rubin, Jenice Armstrong, and Helen Ubiñas, appear on our pages. All of our columnists can be found at inquirer.com/opinion.