… of the news story, that is.
It’s a great strategy to increase your likelihood of publication: if you know that a research report, government announcement or legal decision is about to be released, and your informed opinion about the issue can offer insightful context and analysis, contacting op ed page editors in advance of the breaking news can:
1. Demonstrate to editors that you’re on top of the news in your field, and therefore a valuable resource;
2. Let them know that you can provide a topical op ed in advance of the story breaking, allowing them to have something in the paper immediately afterwards;
3. Give them the opportunity to save space for the piece;
4. Save you the trouble of writing something entirely on spec, only to be told when you submit it that the paper has already agreed to run someone else’s reflections on the same issue.
Last week, University of Ottawa law profs, Liz Sheehy and Carissima Mathen contacted Ottawa Citizen op ed page editor David Watson, offering to write an op ed about an about-to-be-released Supreme Court decision. This advance notice was a win on all fronts:
Watson knew that he’d have a timely piece written by two experts within hours of the decision on a controversial case being released, and Sheehy and Mathen knew that their analysis would be published.
You can read Battered women’s defences still in question in today’s Citizen, in print or online, and as of Monday, it will go up on Informed Opinions’ site alongside more than 75 other commentary interventions made by women experts who’ve participated in our workshops.
Informed Opinions salutes the regular media engagement of both Sheehy (who also serves on our Advisory Committee), and her colleague Carissima Mathen: they frequently provide thoughtful journalists and the broader public with informed analyses of justice issues.