Dear Fellow Op-ed writing A/E’s,
Thank you so much for offering to write an op-ed for submission to the New York Times and other publications in and around New York.
In order to help make the most productive use of your time I want to share a few tips that we have learned about how to write your op-ed in such a way that it is more likely to be published:
- Unlike a Letter to the Editor, which tends to address a particular publication somewhat more directly, an op-ed is meant for the general reading audience. Therefore, be sure not to request something or comment on the newspaper itself.
- Op-eds tend to be quite accessible and easy to read. At the same time, however, op-ed writers also tend to write with authority based on their experience or expertise in the topic they are writing on. Try to use your background as an architect or engineer to discuss the WTC in a way that non-experts can’t, while also avoiding jargon that would make your op-ed difficult to understand for lay persons.
- Op-eds tend to be conversational and sometimes story-like as a way of inviting readers in. There’s often a friendly dynamic between the writer and the reader. Let’s go for that!
Here’s an example of an op-ed published yesterday in the NY Times that embodies all of these qualities: addressing a general audience, accessible but speaking with authority, and friendly.
If you have already written your Op-ed please take some time to reevaluate it according to these guidelines.
Good luck, and we look forward to reading them this weekend! Again, thank you so much for participating in this important effort.
Richard Gage, AIA
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