Op-Ed Assistance with Media Interviews
Media interviews are a great way for faculty to share their expertise and elevate their programs and the university to a larger audience. But when you have a longer viewpoint to share, your best bet may be an op-ed.
An abbreviation for “opposite the editorial page,” an op-ed presents experts with the opportunity to persuade an educated layperson audience on a variety of topics.
An effective op-ed should:
- Be bold: Don’t just outline a problem or disagreement — clearly articulate your opinion or solution.
- Be journalistic: A cardinal sin in journalism is burying the lead. Start with your conclusion or thesis first, then lay out the evidence to make your case. Short sentences, bullet points and subheads are all your friends.
- Be relevant – Who cares? Or, at least, who should? Answer that question and write to that audience.
- Be timely – News today can be obsolete by tomorrow. Don’t wait to get your views out there.
- Be focused – At most you have 1,000 words – usually less. Narrow and hone your argument.
- Be unconventional or break new ground – If the majority has already publicly agreed on a topic, it isn’t news that you do, too. (See also: Be timely)
- Be accurate – Back up your arguments with your research, research in your field or other sources. Poor grammar and sloppy editing damage credibility. Take time to proofread or ask the University Relations team for help.
While faculty will always be the content experts, the University Relations team can help identify jargon, recommend format or structural improvements and provide a second set of eyes for grammar and copy mistakes. UR can also assist in developing a strategy for where to send your op-ed. An increasingly effective distribution method is via The Conversation.