Op-eds can be an effective way to contribute to public conversations about a topic and even help shape policy. If you are a faculty, staff member, or registered student and would like feedback on an op-ed idea, please reach out to: info.communications [at] mcgill.ca.
Tips for writing
- Craft a clear message, focusing on one idea or argument and tell readers, high up in the piece, why they should care.
- Write in strong, lively language. Provocative or contrarian viewpoints are more likely to grab editors’ attention.
- Make it timely. Tie your piece to a news peg and deliver it several days ahead of that event (e.g. a high-profile Supreme Court ruling or major space-exploration launch).
- Keep your sentences and paragraphs short and simple. Editors love punchy copy. So do readers.
- Choose a strong title for your piece, knowing that the editor may decide to change it. They almost always rewrite the headline, but it still pays to craft one that will grab their attention.
- Weave in relevant facts and statistics to bolster your case but try to avoid using too many of them.
- Anecdotes and examples may help illustrate points and add colour to the piece.
- Steer clear of academic jargon and technical terms. If editors and readers need to labour to figure out what you are saying, you have lost them.
- If you are focusing on a problem, propose ways to fix it. Finish on a note that reinforces your message.
- Aim for a length of 500-650 words. Keep in mind that editors reserve the right to edit or condense contributions.
Tips for submitting
- Most newspapers and commentary sites post guidelines and email addresses for submitting op-eds electronically. Include the op-ed within the body of an email – attachments are usually discouraged. Include “Op-ed Submission” in the subject line.
- Submissions need to be exclusive to one media outlet, so do not approach a second publication until you are declined by the first one. You may stipulate at the top of your piece that you will offer it elsewhere if you do not hear back within a certain period (e.g. three business days).
- Make sure to include your contact information and a brief line on your credentials.
- Major newspapers are often flooded with far more submissions than they can possibly print, so try to target your piece strategically. The Media Relations unit may be able to help identify the most appropriate media outlet for your piece.
CBC News Online
opinion [at] cbc.ca
McGill University is a partner of The Conversation. Faculty members can sign up to pitch an article idea.
pcauchon [at] ledevoir.com
pgaudreault [at] ledroit.com
The Globe and Mail
comment [at] globeandmail.com
The Globe and Mail Report on Business
robopinion [at] globeandmail.com
The Hill Times
kmalloy [at] hilltimes.com
opinion [at] montrealgazette.com
submissions [at] nationalpost.com
janderson [at] nationalnewswatch.com
cspencer [at] postmedia.com
debats [at] lapresse.ca
oped [at] thestar.ca