Op-ed is an abbreviated version of 'opposite from editorial' and is one of the most popular writing styles that have come about through the medium of newspapers. A newspaper has several kinds of writings featured in it, like editorials, features, news articles, sports articles, columns, and editorials. Each of them has specific characteristics and the way in which they are written is done so that it highlights certain issues. An op-ed is a piece that is literally placed on the page opposite that of the editorial page to reap in the benefits that the strategic placement brings to it. The op-ed presents a view on any news feature or event that is either local, national or international, but it is written with the specific purpose of providing alternate views on the same issue.
What is an Op-ed
An op-ed is written to provide an alternate opinion to the views that have been featured in an editorial. The way in which it works is that an expert on that particular subject is asked to give his opinion such that the public understands the varied aspects of the same issue and can thus form an opinion by themselves. One of the key points of an op-ed is that it is not necessarily written by an expert alone but can be written by any member of society―any citizen can thereby share his/her opinion on that matter.
This is done so that the public can get a different perspective from the one that is reported and covered by the media. Along with that, it also highlights certain issues in society and makes people more aware. Many people gather the whereabouts of society by reading op-eds because they speak to them directly, as one of them, simplifying matters and making things easier to grasp. This form is also used as a means for exposure and image building. Many people choose to express their opinions through the medium of op-eds so that it reaches a wider section of society and in that way becomes a kind of image-building exercise as well.
Writing an Op-ed Column
There are certain key factors that have to be taken into consideration when writing an effective op-ed. Given below are some of the writing tips and features of the same.
What's Making News
Find something that is making news at that point in time and use that to your advantage. This will ensure readership and allow the public to comment on the news.
Research First, Write Later
Research thoroughly. This makes the piece credible and allows for you to understand it before writing.
A Single Point
When writing an op-ed, make sure that you focus on a single point and do not include different issues. This will distract and confuse the public and not allow for any single point to make impact. Choose a topic and your stand on it. Don't be all over the place. Either support something or oppose it.
750 Words or Less (in case of a short piece)
That's the trick. You need to limit your op-ed to 750 words or less. This allows for the opinion to be conveyed without any clutter, literally in its raw form. This helps make maximum impact because newspapers have less space to begin with, and you do not want important points edited on the account of it exceeding the word limit.
The language needs to be clear and concise. Do not use jargon to avoid confusion. Make sure the sentences are short.
Changes According to Format
There are many ways of writing an op-ed―it can be written as an essay, a column, piece, or an article. According to the length that is provided, change the format a little. If there is the luxury of more words then mention an anecdote in the beginning to make it more personal.
Writing about a local event can be more beneficial when it comes to submitting op-eds. Also, stick to a single medium and not several at one time. Now that you know how to write an op-ed and how to make a great impact by employing the writing skills, you can go on to tell the world what you think.