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How to Place an Op-Ed in Your Local Newspaper

The Basics on Op-Eds

A really great way to get our message out is by getting opinion columns, sometimes known as “op-eds,” printed in the local paper. Most op-eds in local newspapers these days are syndicated columns by national columnists like Thomas Freidman or George Will, but newspapers can and do run opinion columns submitted by members of the community. A typical op-ed is 600-700 words in length, though your local paper may have specific length requirements.

Sometimes papers like to run opinions that are counter to the unsigned editorials written by the paper, but that’s not usually a requirement. The important thing is that just because a paper leans conservative (or liberal) doesn’t necessarily affect whether they print your op-ed.

Step-by-Step: How to Get an Op-Ed Published

1. Decide what papers you will submit your op-ed to
Generally the bigger the newspaper the better, so start by looking for the largest circulation papers in your area. You can get a sense of the largest papers in each state as well as their contact info here: http://www.newslink.org/topstate.html. Also, you should avoid submitting the same op-ed to competing papers in the same media market, although if one paper declines your op-ed, you can then shop it to another.

2. Recruit a good coalition partner to co-sign the op-ed (optional)
You might stand a better chance of getting your op-ed printed if you have another local organization or business signed onto it. For example, if your petition is about clean energy, you might want to recruit a clean energy business. Many potential partners, especially businesses, won’t have any experience with op-eds personally, so you’ll have to walk them through it. It’s best to call them on the phone or meet with them in person. Explain the political value of the op-eds (as summarized above, plus any particular detail you may have on your petition target) and how easy it is (it IS easy—more on that below).

3. Write the op-ed
Probably the best place to start is the text and background of your petition. If it’s not already included, you’ll want to add in some information about why the petition is important to the area covered by the paper, why now, and, ideally, some information on your target. Also, if you have a coalition partner, you can discuss how s/he can localize the story. A more concrete, local story is always more compelling.

4. Find out who is in charge of op-eds at your local paper
Every newspaper has a staff of opinion page editors. Larger newspapers may have someone who deals exclusively with op-eds, while small papers might have one person who handles op-eds, letters to the editor, and also writes the paper’s own editorials. The easiest what to find out who’s in charge of op-eds is to simply call the general number at the paper and ask. It’s not a secret. You’re going to want to get an email address for op-ed submissions as well.

5. Submit the op-ed
Send in your op-ed, using the information you learned in step 4. Make sure to include your phone number and local address as well.

6. Call to follow up
This is the most important part. You can write the most brilliant op-ed ever, and it’s very unlikely to be printed unless you call and make a compelling pitch to get it printed!

A good follow up call will stress that the op-ed is timely, local, and interesting to local readers. Be sure to ask very directly whether they plan to print it or not, because if the answer is no you’ll want to be able to pitch it to another paper in the district.

Attached is a sample script that your clean energy business might use in following up on the op-ed.

7. Once it’s printed, get a copy of the clipping
If and when the op-ed is printed, be sure to get copy of the clipping and share it with us! You should also be sure to share it with your coalition, and even your target.

Sample script for following up on an Op-Ed

Op-Ed writer: Hello, is this _______.

Newspaper person: Yes.

Op-Ed writer: Hi. My name is _________, and I’m the creator of [petition]. I’m calling to follow up on an opinion column that I submitted. Do you have a moment to speak now?

Newspaper person: Sure.

Op-Ed writer: Great. The column is about why I support [what your petition is about], which is [why it’s important now]. It would make a real difference in our area because ______. Also, [why your target needs to act on this], so it’s even more locally relevant and timely.

Newspaper person: Ok, sounds good.

Op-Ed writer: Great. Do you think you’ll have space to print it this week? It’s very timely and of great importance for our local economy.

Newspaper person: Well space is always very tight, but it sounds very interesting. I will have a look at it, and if we can use it, we’ll call you.

Op-Ed writer: Great. I really appreciate that. Is it ok if I call you later this week if I don’t hear from you? I’d love if the paper would run it, but if you aren’t able to use it, I may want to offer it to another paper.

Newspaper person: Sure no problem.

Op-Ed writer: Great. Thanks for considering it.

Newspaper person: You’re welcome.

Op-Ed writer: Good bye.

Tips for a great follow-up call:

  1. Stress the local relevance and timeliness of your op-ed.
  2. Be persistent but friendly.
  3. Be sure to ask if they’re busy, and if they say yes, respect their time and call back when they say they’re available to talk.
  4. Ask very directly if they plan to print it, and if they say no, let them know that you plan to offer it to another paper so that they’re aware.


A dynamic and versatile performer, Brittany O’Grady is emerging as one of the industry’s brightest talents. She is perhaps best known as “Paula” in the first season of Mike White’s Emmy Award-winning HBO series THE WHITE LOTUS. 

She can currently be seen starring in Amazon’s stylish new thriller series THE CONSULTANT opposite Christoph Waltz and Nat Wolff. In film she most recently appeared opposite Daisy Ridley in SOMETIMES I THINK ABOUT DYING, which premiered at Sundance this year to rave reviews.

Other work includes starring in JJ Abrams and Sara Bareilles’s Apple series LITTLE VOICE, Lee Daniels’ Fox series STAR and Sophia Takal’s film BLACK CHRISTMAS for Blumhouse.


Jaime King began her career as a fashion model landing covers of top international magazines and landing major advertising campaigns. King seamlessly transitioned from modeling into acting with a wide range of roles in film and television.

With roles in big studio films, independent film and passion projects King has been able to showcase her versatility with dramatic and comedic roles. King made her debut in Daniel Waters’ Happy Campers, which premiered at The Sundance Film Festival. Following her debut acting role, Jaime starred opposite Johnny Depp in Ted Demme’s film BLOW, followed by Michael Bay’s PEARL HARBOR starring opposite Ben Affleck, Keenan Ivory Wayans’ WHITE CHICKS, Robert Rodriguez’s SIN CITY starring opposite Benicio Del Toro, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis, DJ Caruso’s TWO FOR THE MONEY starring opposite Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey, Frank Millers’ THE SPIRIT starring opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson, SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR starring opposite Joseph Gordon Levitt and Josh Brolin to name a few. Additionally, Jaime was a series regular on the show HART OF DIXIE for four seasons starring opposite Rachel Bilson for the CW.  Other credits include, the Sundance Film Festival premiering BITCH written and directed by Mariana Palka and starring opposite Jason Ritter, ESCAPE PLAN 2 and ESCAPE PLAN 3 starring opposite Sylvester Stallone and an amazing cameo in OCEAN’S 8 directed by Gary Ross for Warner Brothers. Jaime can currently be seen in the critically acclaimed and number one series BLACK SUMMER on Netflix for season one and season two, OUT OF DEATH starring opposite Bruce Willis which is currently streaming on Hulu, CODE NAME BANSHEE starring opposite Antonio Banderas which is also streaming on Hulu, THE RESURRECTION OF CHARLES MANSON starring opposite Frank Grillo and HOAX: THE KIDNAPPING OF SHERRI PAPINI for Lifetime.  Jaime recently wrapped shooting the feature film, LIGHTS OUT starring opposite Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney and Scott Adkins.

Philanthropy and activism have always been key pillars of King’s career and she has used her platform to advocate for many important causes and is unafraid to question the status quo. This activism has also formed her creative endeavors in fashion and beauty. She collaborated with AKID to launch a children’s shoe line, inspired by her kids, comprised of seven unisex styles. King also previously launched a gender-fluid, gender-neutral line with Gardner and the Gang called “Gardner and the Gang X Jaime King.” The collection is designed for children to wear the beautiful story of friendship as an emblem of style, and share it with others as an empowering movement towards creating a generation without judgment. In 2016, King launched a cruelty-free, vegan makeup line with ColourPop cosmetics “Alchemy by Jaime King x ColourPop” which sold out within hours of its launch. Jaime tested the various colors of each product on a variety of skin types (all ethnicities/skin colors, etc.) as she wanted each color to work for everyone.

King currently resides in Los Angeles with her two children.


“In 2013, Bex Taylor-Klaus was introduced as one of the first and most well received transgender roles on cable TV on the critically acclaimed “THE KILLING”. They have been a catalyst and inspired more ideas for transgender, trans nonbinary, and non-conforming representation in Hollywood over the last decade. In the last couple years Bex has been in leading roles such as CBS Films’ HELLFEST along with the Netflix hit, DUMPLIN’ where they played a supporting role opposite Jennifer Aniston. They can also be seen in Millennium’s BLACKBIRD opposite Kate Winslet & Susan Sarandon. Last year, they had wrapped on the indie film, I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST, written and directed by Tommy Dorfman. They are currently shooting Adam Saunder’s independent feature film, RE-ELECTION.”


ALOK (they/them) is an internationally acclaimed author, poet, comedian, and public speaker. As a mixed-media artist their work explores themes of trauma, belonging, and the human condition. They are the author of Femme in Public (2017), Beyond the Gender Binary (2020), and Your Wound/My Garden (2021) and the creator of #DeGenderFashion: an initiative to degender fashion and beauty industries. In recognition of their work, they have been honored as the inaugural LGBTQ Scholar in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania and awarded a GLAAD Media Award and Stonewall Foundation Visionary Award. Over the past decade, they have toured in more than 40 countries, most recently selling out their runs at the Soho Theatre in London, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Kennedy Performing Arts Center. Their show has been described as “provocative and powerful” (CHORTLE), a “potent combination of comedy and poetry” (THE SCOTSMAN), and a “Jaw-dropping celestial event” (TO DO LIST LONDON). On screen, they will make their feature film debut in Absolute Dominion opposite Patton Oswalt and next can be seen in Emmie Lichtenberg’s film Complicated Order opposite Midori Francis. On television, they have appeared on Hulu’s Planet Sex with Cara Delevingne, ABC’s PRIDE: To Be Seen – A Soul of A Nation, Netflix’s Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness and The Trans List.


Emmy-nominated actress, Adina Porter was born and raised in The South Bronx, to immigrant parents. She always felt a deep desire to entertain. As a child, her parents enrolled her in dance and acting classes while gently steering her toward more conventional occupations. Undeterred, she attended the famed High School for the Performing Arts. Upon graduation from S.U.N.Y. Purchase, Porter embarked on a professional career rooted in the theatre. She built an impressive and extensive stage resume in NYC and in prestigious, regional theater companies, including an Obie Award-winning performance in Venus. Myriad TV guest appearances soon followed. In 2001, Porter made her Broadway debut in The Women.

In 2008, she landed the role of “Lettie Mae Thornton” in HBO’s True Blood. The role was originally conceived as a 4-episode Guest Star. However, the creative team was delighted by the character; Porter spent the following seven seasons on the show. Thanks to wigs, elaborate makeup and contact lenses, “Lettie Mae” looked very different from Adina Porter. This engendered a realization within Porter: she was a chameleon. She went on to work in over 60 television series and 20 feature films, many with altered physical appearances, various accents and distinctly unique roles.

Her breakout performance was arguably “Beverly Hope” in American Horror Story: Cult for which she garnered an Emmy® nomination. Porter has worked in five of the anthology seasons. In addition to FX’s AHS franchise, Porter is known to audiences as “Indra,” from CW’s post-apocalyptic, The 100, “Prioress” in Amazon’s Paper Girls, “Sheriff Peterkin” in the Netflix hit Outer Banks, “The Voice” in The Power, and pivotal roles in Apple TV’s The Morning Show, Aaron Sorkin’s, The Newsroom, HBO’s The Leftovers, Showtime’s Ray Donovan and Sony’s Underground.

Next, Porter will star opposite LaKeith Stanfield in Apple TV’s The Changeling and will appear with Nicole Kidman in The Perfect Couple.

On the big screen, Porter recently appeared alongside Uzo Aduba in Miss Virginia. Additional film credits include: multi award-winning The Social Network, The Last Word, Gia, Wig Shop, The Peacemaker, About Sunny, among others. She will also be seen this year in the Amazon Studios feature Sitting in Bars with Cake.

Porter and her two kids split time between Los Angeles and New York City. She proudly serves as a CARE ambassador and devotes time to Goodwill, Feeding America and the World Central Kitchen. She enjoys swimming and yoga to stay in shape. Porter is a self-proclaimed “news junkie.”