I’ve heard writing an op-ed for my local newspaper is a good way to spread awareness about bleeding disorders. I’d like to submit a piece during Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month. Can you offer tips for submitting my story?
Writing an op-ed or opinion piece is a great way to advocate for the bleeding disorders community. HFA spoke with a reporter to determine whom to contact and tips for writing your story:
- Start by reaching out to the most prominent news organization in your area. Look under the organization’s masthead to find contact information for the op-ed section.
- Determine if there are any guidelines for submitting an op-ed. For example, is there a word count requirement? Can you submit a photo?
- As you start writing, make it personal. Use a story that encapsulates why someone unaffected by bleeding disorders should care.
- Be mindful of length. Regardless of the paper’s maximum, it’s best to keep your piece to 250 words or less. Not only will this help you make clear and decisive statements, it’s also much more likely that readers will read your column to the end. More writing does not mean better writing.
- Include any main themes or action items as high up in your piece as possible. For example, refer to bleeding disorders awareness month and why this matters to you at the start. Reiterate your main point or action at the end as well.
- Avoid using personal pronouns like “I” and “you”, as well as jargon or acronyms. Assume that your reader knows nothing about the subject matter. When possible, also refrain from using words like “think” or “believe”; this is implicit because it’s an op-ed and it will make your writing more declarative.
- After you finish writing, put it away, pick it up again, and read it out loud. If you find yourself stumbling over particular sections, then the reader will too.
- When you are ready to submit your op-ed, reach out to the appropriate contact. News organizations always want exclusive material so tell them if you have not submitted it elsewhere. Ask them to confirm receipt and whether or not they are going to publish your piece. If they are not going to publish it, move down your list to contact other news organizations.
- If your story is published, consider forwarding it to other local broadcast outlets (i.e radio or television stations), as they may want to do a story about your advocacy work as well.
- Let HFA and your local bleeding disorders organization know if you’ve been published. It’s great to share your work and inspire others!
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HFA frequently receives questions from the bleeding disorders community related to advocacy issues. The questions often impact the entire community. In an effort to reach the largest audience possible with our responses to these widely applicable questions, HFA developed “Dear Addy.” Questions submitted to this column are edited in order to protect privacy and should be considered educational only, not individual guidance.