For Health Professionals: How to Write an Op-Ed
What is an op-ed?
An op-ed (opposite of the editorial page), or now commonly known as an opinion editorial, is an essay in a newspaper or magazine that expresses the writer’s opinion. Op-ed’s are written by local citizens, leaders, experts, or anybody who has expertise in a particular topic, and is not an employee of the newspaper or the magazine publishing the article.
Dr. LeRoy M. Graham, Jr. is a pediatric pulmonologist and M&O Partnership Council member.
Check out this op-ed written by Dr. LeRoy Graham, a pediatric pulmonologist and Partnership Council member, calling for the EPA to “heed the scientific consensus and set stronger ozone standards based on scientific evidence available. It was published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Why write an op-ed?
Because you can! This is your opportunity to showcase your expertise on a particular issue. If you can do this very clearly and persuasively, then you can change people’s hearts and minds on a particular issue, help shape public policy, and get recognition for yourself and/or your organization.
When to write an op-ed?
An op-ed can be written anytime that you want to express your opinion, raise awareness about an issue, and offer recommendations for improving an issue.
How to write an op-ed? The following tips and resources can help you write a clear and persuasive op-ed.
Connect with the readers
Using an anecdote in your op-ed can make listeners laugh or think about the topic that you are writing about.
Stay up-to-date with the latest news headlines on your topic.
Keep it simple
Avoid using jargon and keep your writing clear and concise. All papers have a word limit.
Use active voice
Remember…this is your opinion, write in the first person when expressing it. It is easy to understand.
Respect your reader
While you want to use simple, clear, and concise writing, be mindful not to underestimate your reader’s intelligence or his/her knowledge about the topic. It is on you to grab their attention and make a compelling argument.
Finish on a strong note
End by urging the reader to take action on the issue that you have addressed.
Enjoy! And remember this is your opportunity to showcase your expertise on a topic.