College of Liberal Arts

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Op-Ed Tips

Op-ed is short for “opposite the editorial page.” It is an article that presents the writer’s opinion on a specific subject.

 If you have an idea for an op-ed, please email the college’s media relations representatives. We can work with you on editing and placing your article.

A successful Op-ed is:

Relevant and interesting. Answer the question: “So what?” Newsworthiness is based off five factors: timeliness, significance, proximity, prominence and human interest. So, make connections to current events, local references, popular culture or social issues whenever possible. 

Clear and Concise. Use active voice and keep it between 600 and 800 words. Don’t beat around the bush; lead with your argument. When defending your point, eliminate the jargon, and use examples the reader can relate to and understand.

Specific. Make a single point or argument clearly and persuasively. If you cannot explain your message in one or two sentences, readjust your focus. 

Informed. Set the stage quickly, but provide enough background information to show the reader why and how the problem exists. Acknowledge opposing viewpoints. 

Forward-looking/Motivating. An op-ed is not a mere analysis. Offer specific recommendations and determine the best course of action to take to improve matters. Answer the question “where do we go from here?” and motivate readers with a call to action.

Personal. Be yourself, and write in your own voice. Use conversational English and your own experiences to lead the reader through the discussion.

Examples of op-eds written by College of Liberal Arts faculty can be found on Life & Letters and Texas Perspectives, as well as in publications across the state, country and world.