National Breast Cancer Coalition

Op-Ed: Opposite the Editorial Page

An op-ed, an abbreviation for "opposite the editorial page," is a newspaper article that expresses the opinions of the writer, usually someone unaffiliated with the newspaper.

How to submit an op-ed

When the opportunity arises to submit an op-ed about Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® to your local newspaper, contact the op-ed editor before you write the piece to gauge his or her interest. Explain why you think the issue is important to the paper's readers.

Most papers have an op-ed review process that can take anywhere from days to months. Many large daily papers require "exclusivity," meaning they will only consider your piece if they are the sole paper receiving it. Know this before you send the op-ed to other papers.

Pay special attention to the "author" of the op-ed; sometimes this is as important as the content of the piece. Often, op-eds are written by one person and signed by another more prominent person or group of people. "Big name" writers or leaders from the community are more likely to get published on the op-ed page. Instructions for submitting an op-ed are usually at the bottom of the page where they appear or on the paper's website. Most papers like op-eds e-mailed to the editor.

Getting it published

  • Your op-ed should be no more than 500-700 words long. Check with the target paper to determine their standard accepted length; some have more space than others.
  • Be succinct and clear.
  • Lead with your main point—many op-eds are rejected because the author never gets to the point or never clearly states his or her opinion.
  • Always include recommendations for solving the problem.
  • If possible, use a news or local angle.
  • Include statistics and data to add credibility to the piece, but be careful not to confuse your main point with too many numbers. Always provide credible sources (Wikipedia, for example, is not a credible source).
  • End with a strong closing statement. What should happen to make change? Who is in a position to make change? What new ideas are you suggesting? A strong sentence that includes answers to these questions will make the piece end with authority.
  • Indicate authorship and group affiliation.
  • Include contact information at the end, including a phone number or email address.

To help you, we’ve drafted some Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® content—now it’s your turn to personalize it!