On October 17, 2018 we hosted a “Lunch and Learn” for North Star Fund grantees to learn how to pitch and write an impactful opinion piece that will get published. Jennifer Parker, a staff editor for the Op-Ed Department at the New York Times, led us through her tips on creating an effective pitch.

Grantees had the opportunity to share a few pitches with the group and receive feedback from Jennifer and peers.

Here are the pieces of advice that Jennifer shared from her perspective:

  1. Whether personal piece or policy piece, your Op-Ed needs to have a central thesis/opinion/broader takeaway.
  2. Pitch something that hasn’t been said, or a solution that hasn’t gotten enough airtime, etc. Keep in mind that it must be a timely solution or a unique voice.
  3. What is the potential headline of your Op-Ed? What is the sub-headline? Sometimes that can be enough for a pitch.
  4. Read what we we publish! This will allow you to write your Op-Ed to fit the format and length of what we prefer to run.
  5. You only have space for ONE opinion/idea/solution. Think of your thesis like a cord running down the essay, where every paragraph supports the central thesis and flows from the previous one.
  6. There are different ways of conveying expertise. Think of who you have access to and their specific expertise.

Thanks to Jennifer for an interactive and useful workshop. We also shared resources from the Op-Ed Project on how to write and pitch an Op-Ed.

See you in the paper!