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- Op-Ed Writing: 10 Markets That Pay Freelancers for Views & Opinions
Check out these 10 op-ed writing markets to share your point of view and get paid for it.
Meet op-ed writer and freelance journalist cat woods, 1. al jazeera, 2. cnn opinion, 3. financial times, 4. la times, 5. new york times, 8. sydney morning herald, 10. the washington post, a few more tips about op-ed writing.
Ever have an idea for an op-ed?
If your mind jumps to the old-school newspaper section with editorials, opinion pieces, and letters to the editor, you’re probably thinking it’s a waste of time.
But writing op-ed pieces is still a thing. And if you know where to look, the right markets pay well.
Getting paid $300 to $1,500 for opinion pieces, essays, and editorials is still happening.
Let the ideas begin to percolate…
Maybe you’ve learned a few lessons at the School of Hard Knocks.
Maybe you’ve got some insight, views, expertise, or opinions about issues in your niche.
Or maybe some comment on social media is so hot, you’ve got to take a stand.
Chances are pretty good you’ve got an opinion piece in you worth writing.
When Australia-based op-ed writer and freelance journalist Cat Woods saw celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels light up the Twittersphere with a body-shaming comment about pop singer Lizzo, the idea for an editorial began to form.
It was timely. It was trending on social media. And she had her own take on the issue.
So she pitched the idea and landed an op-ed assignment on spec. Then got paid when The Sydney Morning Herald published her piece, We need to celebrate female artists for their work not their bodies . She’s cashed in on other op-ed writing opportunities, too.
Have you read, seen or heard something that you have a strong opinion on, and some credentials to justify your opinion being published? If so, there’s opportunities to air your opinion and to be paid for it. Check out these 10 publications that pay writers for op-eds.
Al Jazeera receives an exceptional number of pitches weekly. Typically they feature op-eds by experts and highly experienced writers. Nadim Asrar is a deputy editor for Al Jazeera and his Twitter is @aqliyat .
Tip: Following the opinion site or the opinions editor of the publication you’re interested in writing for on social media is a great way to get a sense of the type of content they prefer and see callouts for pitches or submissions.
Pays: $500 per 600-word piece, according to The Op-Ed Project .
CNN Opinion accepts submissions of original, exclusive op-eds on topics relevant to current news and affairs. You’ll find opinion pieces on things like the presidential primaries, Oscar award speeches, police and community clashes in New York, and much more.
Tip: Don’t just submit an idea for an op-ed. Write the whole piece at around 600 to 800 words. Include a brief bio, and any unique details about your experience, credentials, or connection to the subject you’re writing about. FYI, if your piece gets accepted, CNN gets exclusive rights.
Pays: $400 per 800-word op-ed piece, according to Who Pays Writers
Got an opinion, personal story, or take on a financial topic, money matters, or the global economy? Pitch an op-ed idea to Financial Times editor Brooke Masters ( @brookeamasters ).
“Readers value the FT for its brevity. So you have at most 800 words, just enough to make a persuasive case for a focused point. Be a miniaturist, not a landscape painter.” Brooke Masters
Tip: If you don’t hear back within three business days, your pitch didn’t make the cut. Give it an update and submit your op-ed to another publication.
Pays: Depends on assignment
The Los Angeles Times accepts opinion articles on spec for just about any subject. For example, they’ve published trending opinion pieces about cannabis farming in California, state and national political issues, raising insurance rates on speeding drivers to protect pedestrians, and of course, The Oscars.
Tip: Like a lot of op-ed assignments, pitch the LA Times by writing your complete op-ed on spec. Most op-eds are around 750 to 1,200 words. The guidelines recommend sending your pitch to [email protected] . But here’s another option…the Editorial Page Editor is Nicholas Goldberg .
The New York Times accepts opinion editorials for the daily print page, online, the Sunday Review, the International edition and seasonal series. Sure, The NYT has its own roster of regular columnists. But it also publishes op-eds from freelancers on a wide range of topics like politics, pop culture, health, science, lifestyle, and more.
Tip: Submit a complete op-ed piece that’s around 400 to 1,200 words, instead of just pitching an idea. Also review the rest of the guidelines, which recommend sending your pitch to [email protected] . FYI…the Editorial Page Editor for The NYT is Kathleen Kingsbury ( @katiekings ).
Pays: $600 to $700 for op-eds, according to The Op-Ed Project .
While newspapers have been dying a slow and painful death for more than a decade, Slate is one of a handful of online news and opinion sites that’s managed to reach an international audience with its own slant on covering news, events, and issues.
Tip: Have an op-ed idea for Slate ? Study the guidelines and pitch your op-ed idea, highlighting your main points. Categories include culture, human interest, news/politics, technology, business, health and science, and sports . Choose the correct editor from the bottom of this list .
Pays: $300 for a 1,000 to 2,000-word op-ed, according to The Web Writer Spotlight
The Sun is a daily print and online newspaper published in the United Kingdom and Ireland, that publishes a wide range of op-eds.
Tip: The hotter the topic, the more likely you’ll get a bite for your complete op-ed. Just take a look at examples on the site about Gwyneth Paltrow on Netflix, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Kirk Douglas fandom, and all kinds of political issues. If accepted, expect heavy editing before publishing.
And if that’s not enough buzz, blogger and journalist Victoria Newton is editor for The Sun .
Pays: $600 for a 2,000 to 4,000 word op-ed or personal essay, according to Web Writers Spotlight
You don’t need to be from Australia to pitch an op-ed for The Sydney Morning Herald . But knowing a little about issues, current events, and other news from Down Under will only help you appeal to editors.
When Cat Woods pitched The Sydney Morning Herald the op-ed about the Michaes v. Lizzo incident in 2020, it was an international issue unfolding on social media. But she did mention Australia’s efforts to battle its brushfires.
Tip: When you pitch editors an op-ed idea, pointing to previous work that demonstrates your ability to write will be to your advantage. Typically, op-eds relating directly to current news are given priority. Julie Lewis ( @JLewisnthenews ) is the opinion editor for The Sydney Morning News.
Pays: Approximately $0.34/per word U.S., up to 800 words
Take a look at the current opinion page of TIME , and you’ll find a mix of national and international op-eds about human rights, politics, technology, history, and more.
Tip : Take the time to write a solid subject line and/or working headline when you pitch an op-ed. And get to the point as quickly as possible. And check the list of TIME editors to pitch the right person. The general contact rule is [email protected]
The Washington Post opinion section features local, national, and international op-eds about a wide variety of topics. Take a look at past op-eds and you’ll see opinions and viewpoints about the presidential primaries, the coronavirus, fake news frustrations, and many other trending topics.
Tip: The site recommends submitting an op-ed for consideration using the online form. You’ll need to write the complete op-ed for consideration, and keep it under 750 words. But you can also target your pitch to a specific person from this list of opinion editors at The Washington Post.
Pays: Up to $1,500 per op-ed, depends on assignment
There is no need for specialty expertise or credentials, but experienced writers with a portfolio of published work will find it easier to convince editors of their ability to deliver strong copy on time.
- Rates: The pay for writing opinion pieces varies widely between publications, and some only offer a byline credit. Before you invest the time to write an op-ed, find out if there’s a paying market for your piece
- Write on spec . Unless otherwise stated in submission guidelines, most publications expect you to submit a completed op-ed on spec, meaning you’ll only get paid for the piece if it’s accepted or published
- Beware of the black hole . It’s the submission form or generic editor@ email address so many pubs point you to submit an op-ed. In most cases, you should be able to find a way to contact the opinion editor directly by email or social media
- Networking opportunities. Getting paid to share your opinion is nice. However, sharing your opinion isn’t the only reason to write opinion pieces. If you’re trying to make a name for yourself as the freelancer in your niche, consider writing an op-ed or guest post (usually for free), and use it as a networking opportunity to connect with prospects
- 16 more places to get paid to write op-eds . Curious about more markets that pay for op-ed writing, viewpoints and essays? Check out this list
Op-ed writing isn’t likely to become the bread and butter of your freelance business. But there are plenty of opportunities to get paid to write about issues and topics you’re passionate about.
Cat Woods is a freelance journalist based in Melbourne, Australia.
This is an updated version of a story that was previously published. We update our posts as often as possible to ensure they’re useful for our readers.
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The New York Times Wants Your Personal Essays — Paying market
Curiosity Never Killed the Writer
E very once in a while a major publisher opens up to writers, offering professional payment. But the payment, while much appreciated, pales in comparison to having your work read by millions of people.
In this instance the New York Times is looking for personal essays. Don’t be disappointed, fiction writers and poets. You can write a personal essay! There is a millimeter thick line that separates fiction from a personal essay.
New York Times: Solver Stories
Have a story that needs to be told about puzzles, games or language? Wordplay wants to hear from you. Wordplay is interested in exploring how puzzles, games and language connect us to each other, how they fit into our daily lives and what we can learn about ourselves from them.
Solver Stories, a feature of Wordplay, welcomes submissions of personal essays on a variety of topics, such as:
- An issue the writer has faced in life, and how solving puzzles (of any kind) has helped them resolve that issue.
- A feel-good story or good news from the worlds of puzzles and games, such as Nancy Pfeffer’s “ Flight of the Spelling Bee Player .”
- How solving puzzles has affected a relationship in the writer’s life.
- How puzzles, games or use of language have been agents of cultural change.
The most important thing is that the writing be emotionally honest and for the story to be freshly and compellingly told. An example of the kind of essay we are looking for is Jessica Wolf’s Solver Story, “ The Language of Letting Go .”
Wordplay will pay $200 for each essay that is published. Solver Stories will be published every month, and payment will be issued when the story runs. Preferred length: 800 to 1,300 words. Please attach your essay as a Word-compatible document AND paste the text into the body of the email.
Read Solver Stories guidelines HERE .
Read freelance pitch guidelines HERE .
Like this article? For more articles about the publishing world, useful tips on how to get an agent, agents who are looking for clients, how to market and promote your work, building your online platform, how to get reviews, self-publishing, as well as publishers accepting manuscripts directly from writers (no agent required) visit Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity .
Written by Erica Verrillo
Helping writers get published and bolstering their flagging spirits at http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/
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New York Times dumps "op-eds" for "guest essays": A great start, but not nearly enough
The op-ed is dead, and good riddance. but "guest essays" will only work if editors open the doors to new voices, by dan froomkin.
This article was co-produced with Press Watch , an independent site that monitors and critiques American political coverage. Please consider supporting Press Watch by making a donation .
Changing a label, in and of itself, never solves anything. But the New York Times opinion section's big announcement last week that what we've described for decades as "op-eds" will henceforth be known as "guest essays" is a fantastic and important move — if editors there are bold enough to take the next logical steps.
The result could be a brilliant reinvention of the intellectual public square, full of wonderfully diverse voices where the only barrier to entry is a willingness to argue in good faith.
A space currently bounded by conventional establishment wisdom — occasionally breached by trolling — could instead expose the Times audience to the full range of national discourse, with all interesting, relevant and honestly argued viewpoints welcome.
This of course is a best-case scenario. It depends on Times opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury and her new deputy Patrick Healy (fresh from overseeing the Times's deeply flawed politics coverage ) openly recognizing the error of their previous ways.
While that might seem almost inconceivable, they do take their marching orders from publisher A.G. Sulzberger, who, at an all-hands staff meeting after he fired Kingsbury's predecessor James Bennet back in June, bluntly expressed his view that the op-ed format was broken. "I think there's a structural problem with the form itself," he said.
So how does this reinvention begin with a label change? Let me explain.
The term "op-ed" was antiquated, opaque and, most importantly, ambiguous. Although the "op-ed" designation was ostensibly intended (since its coinage 50 years ago) to provide views distinct from those of the Times itself — with its essays placed "opposite" the editorial page — the presence of the Times's own staff "op-ed columnists" muddled the message, effectively giving anything that ran there the imprimatur of the Times.
As University of Maine journalism professor Michael Socolow , who has traced the history of the Time op-ed page, explains: "For many Times readers (and even employees), the page looks like a unified platform or singularly powerful megaphone, and therefore anyone given access must be pre-approved and judged endorsement-worthy."
So while the Times opinion section was publicly committed to a tolerance for "different views," it was effectively a space defined by its columnists, who ranged all the way from center-left to center-right. Of late, center-right extended to include climate skepticism and anti-Arab racism but not Trumpism. Center-left stopped well short of anti-capitalism. And the voices of the marginalized were off the page almost entirely.
Now, with the "guest essays" label putting non-staff writing clearly at arm's length, the original mission of the op-ed feels attainable.
Quality control, not opinion control
That would mean an actual diversity of views, not just from across the traditional political spectrum, but across other spectra as well. Kingsbury vowed precisely that in an interview on CNN's "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, saying: "We want to publish a wide range of opinions, arguments, ideas, whether it's across the left-right spectrum, but as most Americans, you know, really looking far beyond that spectrum."
She also said, "We can't be afraid to hear out and interrogate all ideas, especially bad ones, because in my opinion, that's the most effective way to knock them down."
CNN's Brian Stelter recognized that as a powerful principle: "So, read it, challenge it, rebut it. That's the opposite of cancel culture, isn't it?"
"Exactly," Kingsbury said.
There are still some things that guest essayists shouldn't be allowed to do on the pages of the New York Times — chief among them inciting violence and advocating genocide. But beyond that, if a view is held by a politically significant portion of the American electorate, it deserves to be part of the mix.
That means explicitly welcoming anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and pro-Arab arguments that have historically been shunned, as well as writers who are younger, more diverse, less credentialed and less fortunate.
And especially now, the political right has a lot of explaining to do. With the Republican Party unmoored from reality, actively nativist and anti-science, it's crucial that people who speak for it be invited to at least attempt to articulate what their actual views are and how they arrived at them.
The key for the Times opinion section going forward should be quality control, not opinion control. There should be a near-zero tolerance for bad-faith arguments — those that rely on false statement, hyperbole, unfair descriptions of competing views, absurd straw men, logical fallacies and trolling. But as long as the arguments are honest, I think almost anything goes.
That would be a huge ratcheting up of standards from those the Times opinion page currently applies, which mostly rely on the quaint notion of " fact-checking ," which is both anemic and insufficient .
Not every publication could pull this off — in fact, maybe not any publication other than that one — but did you know that nearly 150 people work at the New York Times opinion section? This is where editors come in.
Here's what Sewell Chan, the editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times — and a former deputy opinion editor at the New York Times — had to say in a recent panel discussion , which I think was dead-on:
Instead of thinking about "Are some ideas acceptable or not acceptable?" … what I think we're more likely to be encountered with are ideas that are provocative or challenging or difficult or controversial. And our job as editors is to help the writer — whether we personally agree or not is not relevant — our job is to help the writer adduce evidence to make the strongest possible logical and persuasive case. But it ultimately has to be a case that is grounded in logic, persuasion and evidence. And if we do that, I actually think a lot of ideas that are provocative or difficult can enter the discourse. And yes, they'll provoke people or upset people. But we've done our duty as opinion editors because we've at least exposed our readers to the broad range of views throughout.
Practically speaking, helping some writers meet those standards will be hard, if not impossible — especially for essayists who are at heart advocating such things as nativism or Christian supremacy, but who are accustomed to launching their arguments by denying any such thing.
And it may be impossible for Republicans to honestly address the most important question of the moment: Why they continue to engage in the Big Lie (and so many smaller ones).
But then they've opted out; they haven't been silenced. If they complain about being canceled, just turn over the email chain.
Imagine if a process like this had been in place when Sen. Tom Cotton wrote an op-ed last June full of slippery and dishonest arguments attempting to incite the violent dispersal of Black Lives Matter protesters. Rather than getting published — and then retracted, but only after a newsroom revolt that ended Jim Bennet's career — it would have been either edited into an honest expression of Cotton's objection to BLM protests or, more likely, spiked.
Who is this person and why did we invite them?
As part of the "redesign" of Opinion, New York Times lead product designer Dalit Shalom promised a "second important editorial change": "a more detailed bio about the author whose opinion we are sharing." Adopting a "dinner party metaphor," the designer wrote that "this kind of intentional introduction can be seen as a toast, providing context, clarity and relevance around who someone is and why we chose them to write an essay."
There's been no sign of any such thing thus far. Bios remain a couple or three lines long, offering little more than institutional affiliations.
But increased transparency is an essential part of the way forward, as I argued immediately after Bennet's ouster . Firstly, it would fix the longstanding problem caused by the wildly insufficient identification of opinion writers' sometimes spectacular conflicts of interests.
Beyond that, it would provide readers with valuable context: Why was this person invited to offer a guest essay in the first place? What do they bring to the table?
In some cases, that could even include a warning — an advisory that the views expressed are potentially highly offensive to those who share the Times editorial board's devotion to "progress, fairness and shared humanity," but nevertheless are an important part of the national discourse, and that this writer has been judged to be making their argument in good faith.
That distancing — combined with an honest and defensible explanation of why an essay was nevertheless worth publishing — would make it much harder for the Times to publish something like the Cotton piece, which was the ultimate example of how low the Times was willing to lower its standards in order to demonstrate a willingness to publish views from "both sides."
But let's be clear: The publishing of performative garbage has not stopped under Kingsbury. When right-wing icon Rush Limbaugh died in February, Kingsbury understandably wanted to showcase a variety of writers, each with "a distinctive and authoritative point of view on Limbaugh's legacy."
(The essay from feminist writer Jill Filipovic — "Cracking open his slobbering hatred of women allows insight into his success, as well as the perversion of the party he championed," she wrote — was one of the sharpest pieces of opinion journalism I've read all year.)
But for the fanboy view, Kingsbury picked Ben Shapiro, the hard-right provocateur well known for his bad-faith arguments.
In an essay explaining her thinking , Kingsbury acknowledged Shapiro's "trollish online presence and, to me, unpalatable views." But she defended her selection by calling him "popular" on the right and "well positioned to carry Limbaugh's message to a new generation of listeners."
What Shapiro turned in , predictably, was a stream of offensive, valueless liberal-eye-poking that praised Limbaugh for "fighting back against the predations of a left that seeks institutional and cultural hegemony."
As political journalist Mehdi Hasan tweeted , Shapiro was allowed to write about Limbaugh, in the New York Times, without having to "mention or grapple with" Limbaugh's record of misogyny and bigotry.
It might have been of some value to hear Shapiro honestly address Limbaugh's darkness. Apparently, the Times editors actually asked him to. In a podcast a few days later , after Megyn Kelly mockingly quoted Hasan's tweet, Shapiro replied that the Times' editors "wanted me to do some of that stuff too." But, he said, "I'm not gonna do that."
Kingsbury published his piece anyway. She shouldn't have.
How to expand the range
Ironically, considering what a debacle that was, Kingsbury's concept of featuring a variety of voices on a particular topic should be one of the ways the Times starts to diversify its guest essays going forward — with the ever-present requirement that they actually have something of value to offer, and do so without deceit.
Another good move would be to encourage writers to respond to what they've read in the opinion pages, something explicitly discouraged in the current guidelines , which relegate such responses to the letters page.
When someone like author Heather McGhee writes something as mind-blowing as her Feb. 13 op-ed about how white people turned the U.S. economy into a zero-sum game after the civil rights movement, that's an occasion to host a multiplicity of views. Admittedly, in that case Times columnist Michelle Goldberg proceeded to write about it and Times podcaster Ezra Klein proceeded to interview McGhee — but why not get responses from people who have watched this process play out and, for that matter, people who defend it?
Immigration policy is a hugely important, complicated and nuanced issue that would benefit from an intelligent exchange of views. Some issues, like voting rights, have only one defensible view. But the opinion page should try to find someone on the opposing side who will be honest about their goals, at least.
I'd like to see debate about media narratives and framing. Should the behavior of the Republican Party continue to be normalized by political reporters, no matter how extreme it is? At what point do you declare a politician, or a party, presumptively untrustworthy?
The opinion pages should also address fundamental underlying issues that rarely make it into daily journalism despite their significance in day-to-day life, like wealth inequality, educational inequality, misogyny and the corrupting lure of money.
The opinion pages should showcase non-writers. People living incarcerated lives. People living in poverty. The undereducated. Let's revive the "as told to" format, if necessary. Washington Post reporter Eli Zaslow's Voices From the Pandemic series reminded us of its incredible power.
It's quite possible that only the Times, with its huge opinion staff, could do this right. As I wrote last year, the major investment Bennet made in investigative reporting projects for the opinion section — which seems redundant to me — could be better used finding and raising up underrepresented voices, especially those of oppressed people.
As Sewell Chan has said, "people's authentic lived experiences" are "often as important a form of authority as traditional research scholarship."
The ubiquity of both cell-phone video and Zoom conferences suggests new ways of presenting the voices of real people.
The key, of course, is not just to look for soundbites that fit a predetermined narrative (an unfortunate hallmark of Kingsbury's new deputy, the aforementioned Patrick Healy). The key is to find people who lead representative lives and get them to honestly express not just what their views are, but how they came to hold them.
In her essay explaining the opinion redesign, Kingsbury hearkened back to the original goals of the op-ed section — "the allure of clashing opinions well expressed" — and vowed to host a space "where voices can be heard and respected, where ideas can linger a while, be given serious consideration, interrogated and then flourish or perish."
I wish her godspeed. But doing that will depend on her recognizing how much more there is to do than change a label.
Dan Froomkin is Editor of Press Watch. He wrote the daily White House Watch column for the Washington Post during the George W. Bush administration, then served as Washington bureau chief and senior writer at Huffington Post, covering Barack Obama's presidency, before working as Washington editor at The Intercept.
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What The New York Times ‘Guest Essay’ Means for the Future of Creative Nonfiction
July 23, 2021 § 4 Comments
By Zoë Bossiere
In April, The New York Times announced that the paper’s “Op-Ed” opinion section, established in 1970, would be rebranded as “Guest Essays.” This seemingly small change, made with minimal fanfare, actually marks a momentous shift for the creative nonfiction essay. The essay has existed much on the fringes of literary writing and journalism since Michel de Montaigne penned his Essais in 1580. Famously, even he thought them a waste of time, warning readers, “I am myself the matter of my book; you would be unreasonable to spend your leisure on so frivolous and vain a subject.”
While the essay as a form— a written attempt, an experiment, a method of discovery through the process of the writing, itself—is now centuries old, in the publishing world it has only officially existed since 1983, when it was placed under the umbrella term “creative nonfiction” for the purposes of National Endowment for the Arts fellowship category and university course programming. But far from the dry research papers most students associate them with, the essay is alive with the obsessions, anxieties, and jokes of the day.
When one teaches and studies the essay, as I have devoted my academic career to doing, one begins to see it everywhere. In addition to those essays that might appear in venerable literary publications such as The New Yorker , The Paris Review , or The Sun , increasingly the essay also pops up in our social media feeds, sometimes in the form of Twitter threads on depriving one’s daughter of beans , or rehoming the demonic Chihuahua from hell .
Social media in general has contributed to the ascension of nonfiction in popular culture—our insatiable appetite for true-to-life stories told by real people. However, as NYT editor Kathleen Kingsbury observes in her explanation of the new Guest Essay, “What is disappearing [online]…are spaces where voices can be heard and respected, where ideas can linger a while, be given serious consideration, interrogated and then flourish or perish.”
I tend to agree with her. The breadth of perspective that can be conveyed in a single social media post is limited. As we spend more and more time reading shorter and shorter paragraphs of text, our attention spans are shrinking along with the size of the posts we consume—a condition that’s been exacerbated by our increasingly-online pandemic lives. Not every issue can, or indeed should, be elucidated in even the longest thread of 240 characters or less.
The “Guest Essay” rebrand provides a subtle but important distinction. More than the simple expression of opinion, an essay is rhetorically savvy and, often, emotionally affecting. Now, as the issues of the day become increasingly complex and multifaceted, the essay can be an important way—perhaps the only way—to navigate nuanced, complicated, and seemingly contradictory perspectives. (Which is not to say all viewpoints are ethically equivalent.)
As a writing teacher, I encourage my students to view an issue not as a double sided coin—a two-dimensional “for” or “against”—but as a prism with multiple stakeholders and rationales. The essay allows the writer to engage with her subject on a deeper level, to get at the heart of an issue and take the reader on a journey that isn’t fueled by the immediate emotional reactions—such as outrage—that many shorter “takes” engender.
In addition to teaching the essay, I am also the managing editor here at Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction , where we exclusively publish short nonfiction essays of 750 words or fewer. The essays submitted to us touch on a range of experiences by writers from all walks of life—women writers, BIPOC writers, trans and queer writers, and disabled writers, to name a few groups. Far from Montaigne’s original assertion that the self is “vain” and “frivolous,” the essay has become the mode du jour of contemporary thought in a time when the personal is inevitably determined by the political.
Though essays are written for a myriad reasons and in many varied forms, the common purpose of the contemporary essay in the public sphere is to foster well-informed critical thought and radical empathy for perspectives not our own. To provide readers a window into the proposals, interpretations, and aspirations that shape our diverse world.
The birth of The New York Times “Guest Essay” places the nonfiction essay firmly into the spotlight of socio-political discourse just when we as a country need it most. In the ensuing decade, we will need to read essays by the trans folx whose rights are in danger of being legislated out of existence, by the undocumented immigrants and their children who have been detained in cages at the border, by the many communities who continue to be devastated by gun violence and police brutality, and far too many more to list here.
Because at its heart, the essay speaks to those quintessentially human parts of ourselves that colder, jargon-laden editorial and journalistic articles can’t quite replicate. Though the NYT’ s track record is far from perfect, the emergence of the essay in the world’s most widely-read newspaper comes at a crucial time, offering potential for a new era of empathy and reflection in public discourse.
Zoë Bossiere is a doctoral candidate at Ohio University, where she studies and teaches creative writing and rhetoric & composition. She is the managing editor of Brevity , and the co-editor of its anthology, The Best of Brevity (Rose Metal Press). Find her online at zoebossiere.com or on Twitter @zoebossiere .
Tagged: NYT Guest Essay , Op-Ed , socio-political discourse
§ 4 Responses to What The New York Times ‘Guest Essay’ Means for the Future of Creative Nonfiction
[…] What The New York Times ‘Guest Essay’ Means for the Future of Creative Nonfiction […]
Great essay here. As a writer, I’ve been embarrassed for quite some time because I don’t read as books as much as I used to. Instead I read articles, thought pieces, etc. (essays!). Even though I’ve known what CNF is for some time, I never thought to apply it to the question I’m often asked, “What are you reading?” Now I’ve got a better answer. 🙂
[…] a recent post at Brevity’s Nonfiction Blog, managing editor and essay teacher Zoë Bossiere celebrates the rebranding of The New York Times […]
“[A] momentous shift for the creative nonfiction essay.” Indeed!
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The New York Times cancels op-eds: Paper says it's renaming them to 'guest essays' to be 'more inclusive' after editors Bari Weiss and James Bennet were driven out for not being woke enough
- NYT Opinion Editor Kathleen Kingsbury announced the change on Monday
- Said the term 'op-ed' is an outdated term meaning opposite the editorial page
- Referred to the position of guest opinion pieces in the physical newspaper
- Kingsbury said the new term 'guest essay' would be 'more inclusive'
- It comes following a string of controversies in the paper's Opinion department
- Opinion Editor James Bennet resigned under pressure over Tom Cotton op-ed
- Staff editor Bari Weiss resigned spectacularly last year, slamming the newspaper
- Columnist Bret Stephens protested after publisher spiked his piece in February
- Stephens had wanted to criticize the firing of health reporter Donald McNeil Jr
By Keith Griffith For Dailymail.com
Published: 18:53 EST, 26 April 2021 | Updated: 17:47 EST, 15 October 2021
NYT Opinion Editor Kathleen Kingsbury is retiring the term 'op-ed' at the paper
The New York Times has said that it will retire the term 'op-ed' and replace it with 'guest essay', a rebrand that follows a string of furious controversies in the newspaper's Opinion section.
Opinion Editor Kathleen Kingsbury announced the change in a column on Monday, calling the term op-ed 'clubby newspaper jargon' and adding 'we are striving to be far more inclusive in explaining how and why we do our work.'
Kingsbury explained that first op-ed page of guest contributions appeared in the Times in 1970, and was so named because 'it appeared opposite the editorial page and not (as many still believe) because it would offer views contrary to the paper's.'
The bold rebranding comes after spectacular internal turmoil in the Times Opinion section, with editors James Bennet and Bari Weiss resigning over the demands of 'woke' colleagues, and columnist Bret Stephens expressing fury that editors spiked his column criticizing the ouster of health reporter Donald McNeil Jr.
The bold rebranding comes after spectacular internal turmoil in the Times Opinion section, with editors Bari Weiss and James Bennet resigning last year
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In her column, Kingsbury said that in a digital age, the term 'op-ed' had little meaning and was potentially confusing to readers.
'It is a relic of an older age and an older print newspaper design,' she wrote.
NYT Opinion section controversies
June 2020: Opinion Editor James Bennet resigns after internal backlash over the publication of Tom Cotton's op-ed, 'Send in the Troops'.
July 2020: Staff op-ed editor Bari Weiss resigns citing 'constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views.'
February 2021: Times kills a column by Pulitzer-winning staffer Bret Stephens, which was critical of the executive editor's handling of a staffer who uttered the N-word.
April 2021: Times Opinion Editor Kathleen Kingsbury announces the term 'op-ed' is being phased out in favor of guest essay
'So now, at age 50, the designation will be retired. Editorials will still be called editorials, but the articles written by outside writers will be known going forward as 'Guest Essays,' a title that will appear prominently above the headline,' continued Kingsbury.
She went on to argue that the current atmosphere 'a time when the scales of opinion journalism can seem increasingly tilted against the free and the fair, the sober and honest.'
Kingsbury said that the Times would continue to seek out opposing views for its guest essays, but noted 'we have our thumb on our scale in the name of progress, fairness and shared humanity.'
The Times Opinion section has been embroiled in controversy for nearly a year, since Opinion Editor James Bennet was forced to resign last June.
Bennet stepped down after furious internal backlash that he had allowed Senator Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, to publish an op-ed arguing for the military to be used to quell Black Lives Matter protests.
The op-ed, titled 'Send in the Troops', called for federal troops to respond if there was violent rioting in major U.S. cities.
Publisher AG Sulzberger initially stood behind the decision to publish the piece, but the paper's leadership buckled in the wake of Twitter backlash, much of it led by the paper's own employees.
Many Times employees tweeted that running Cotton's essay put 'black lives in danger,' including the lives of black reporters.
Opinion Editor James Bennet was forced to resign last June after furious internal backlash that he had allowed a controversial op-ed from Senator Tom Cotton (above)
Cotton's op-ed was eviscerated on Twitter by the New York Times community and many readers declared their intent to stop reading the publication altogether
Then just weeks later, staff op-ed editor Bari Weiss resigned last July, citing 'constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views.'
Weiss has described herself as a 'left-wing centrist', but her writing often critiques the perceived excesses of the left, and speaks out against 'woke' cancel culture.
'Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor,' Weiss wrote in a furious public resignation letter .
'As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space.'
Weiss, in her resignation letter, said her opinions had resulted in her being bullied by coworkers.
She described the Times as a 'hostile work environment' and criticized management for allowing her coworkers to 'publicly smear' her on Twitter and also on company-wide Slack messaging channels.
Weiss said some employees would post an ax emoji next to her name on company Slack channels and others would discuss the need for her to 'rooted out' if the NYT was 'truly inclusive'.
Editors James Bennet (left) and Bari Weiss (right) left the Times Opinion section last summer following intense criticism from colleagues over various controversies
'My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I'm 'writing about the Jews again',' Weiss wrote in her resignation letter.
'Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in.
'There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly 'inclusive' one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.'
She went on to describe that behavior as unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment and constructive discharge.
'I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper's entire staff and the public. And I certainly can't square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage,' she wrote.
Controversy struck again in February, when the Times killed a column by Pulitzer-winning staffer Bret Stephens, which was critical of the executive editor who initially said 'intent' doesn't matter after a star health reporter was forced out over his use of the N-word.
Stephens wrote in a note to colleagues about his piece focusing on the saga surrounding Donald McNeil Jr's resignation, saying: 'If you're wondering why it wasn't in the paper, it's because AG Sulzberger spiked it.'
In February, the Times killed a column by Pulitzer-winning staffer Bret Stephens (right), which was critical of the executive editor's handling of an N-word controversy
Sulzberger is the chairman of The New York Times Company and the publisher of The New York Times.
The Times had initially allowed veteran journalist McNeil Jr to keep his job after complaints he used the racial slur during a company funded school trip to Peru in 2019.
But McNeil Jr was forced out after 150 Times employees out of 4,500 signed a letter saying they were 'deeply disturbed' by the paper's handling of the incident. Out of those 4,500, only 1,600 are journalists.
Executive editor Dean Baquet and managing editor Joseph Kahn had initially said: 'We do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent.'
Stephens had planned to question those comments by Baquet and Kahn in his column titled 'Regardless of Intent', which was published in full by the New York Post after getting killed at the Times.
Share or comment on this article: New York Times says it's renaming its op-eds guest essays to be more inclusive
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Pitching an Op-Ed Piece to The New York Times
Founded in 1851, The New York Times (NYT) is considered one of the leading newspapers in the world. Winning 125 Pulitzer Prize awards for excellence in journalism, Yale University noted that The Times has earned itself a “worldwide reputation of thoroughness.” Although no easy feat, securing coverage on behalf of a client in the NYT is any PR pro’s dream come true. A meaningful way to do this is to submit an op-ed to The Times.
An op-ed is an essay that runs on the opposite side of the editorial page in a newspaper. Written by anyone from experts to everyday people, the op-ed section often gives readers fresh perspectives on current events and can solidify your client’s position as a thought leader. To give your opinion piece the best chance of being published, I conducted some research into how the op-ed editors at The New York Times like to be pitched. Here’s what I learned.
Op-Ed Submission Guidelines and Process
As described by Trish Hall, the former op-ed and Sunday Review editor, The New York Times accepts opinion articles on any topic, for the op-ed page (Monday through Saturday), the Sunday Review, Opinionator and other online series, and The International New York Times.
The Times looks for submissions that run from 400 to 1,200 words and that are submitted exclusively. The Times actively seeks pieces reacting to news of the world, and writers are encouraged to submit op-eds relating to news events as quick as possible. The New York Times encourages authors to write in their own voice. Writing to “seem smart” often has the opposite effect. And it’s best to focus very specifically on something specific from a unique perspective. For example, if you want to write about the general problem of incarceration in the United States, the odds are that it will seem too familiar. But if you are a prisoner in Washington and you have just gone on a hunger strike and want to talk about it – that is an exciting read. Submissions should be sent to [email protected] .
NYT’s news assistants read the op-ed submissions. They pull out everything that seems to have potential and send those pieces to several editors for review. If those editors find something interesting, they send it to an internal group that is responsible for editing the pieces on the pages in all the editions, in Opinionator and in the Sunday Review.
These editors have daily meetings to discuss the news, ideas, and which writers might be best suited to which subjects. Although no article is guaranteed publication, once accepted, the NYT will do everything it can to make sure the piece runs on one of its platforms. This process could take months because The Times will wait to publish the article for what seems like the moment when the greatest number of readers are likely to find a piece relevant and interesting.
If the article is accepted, the author will receive a contract giving The Times exclusive publishing rights. Additionally, the contract lays out some of the author’s responsibilities, the most important ones having to do with originality and truthfulness. The Times requests that the author discloses anything that might be seen as a conflict of interest, financial or otherwise. The NYT also needs all of the material that supports the facts in the story in order to fact check, so writers should be prepared to disclose all of this information.
Once the contract is signed, an editor will work with the author to make the piece acceptable to both parties. If the piece has the start of a fascinating idea but is jumbled and not well-thought out, it will probably need rounds of revision. If this is the case, do not be discouraged. The goal of the editing process is to make the author’s thinking and writing as clear and orderly as possible. As a rule, the writer will not get to choose the headline or the art that goes with the piece.
Because the number of submissions is so large, the NYT unfortunately has to pass on much material of value and interest. If there is no reply within three business days, assume that The Times will not be able to use your article.
To gain some inspiration, follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion) , and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter . Securing an op-ed for a client in The New York Times would be a huge win and I hope that these guidelines will get you one step closer!
Jascha Kessler | Reply
How to submit a poem to the NYT Magazine? I think it’s MS Nye, but I dont want to trouble her, if this is not proper or orderly. Jascha Kessler, Emeritus Professor of Modern English & American Literature, UCLA [email protected]
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Opinion Welcomes New Deputy Editors for Guest Essays
The opinion team announces two new deputies to help guide the report. Read more in this note from Vanessa Mobley.
For the guest essay operation in Opinion, I’m excited to announce two new deputies to help lead our team. Lauren Kelley , who is now our Op-Ed editor leading reproductive rights coverage, will become Deputy, News, and Ariel Kaminer , rejoining The Times from BuzzFeed, will be Deputy, Ideas & Investigations.
Starting Sept. 26, Lauren will be Deputy, News. Lauren, who led Op-Ed’s coverage of the Dobbs decision and has worked in Opinion for almost five years, has approached the biggest questions about reproductive rights and restrictions in America, and their impact on the country , with rigor and probity . She will bring her incisive editing and astute judgment, as well as her empathic and generous leadership, to this new position. She is committed to producing a timely and relevant report that reflects the core conflicts that drive the news, from a range of political and ideological perspectives.
Originally from Dallas, Lauren has a B.A. in English from Texas Christian University. Before joining The Times’s editorial board in 2018, she was the politics editor at Rolling Stone, where she led coverage of the 2016 elections.
Starting Sept. 19, Ariel Kaminer returns to the Times in the role of Deputy, Ideas & Investigations, after seven years at BuzzFeed News, most recently as executive editor for investigations. Her 16-person team punched above its weight, with projects such as the FinCEN files investigation and a deep dive into the alleged kidnapping plot against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Their award-winning work captured international attention, shook up corporate policies, challenged conventional wisdom and resulted in laws being changed. Ariel is an exceptional editor, experienced in both politics and culture, investigations and personal essays. Her previous positions at The Times included story editor at the Magazine, where she edited an investigation into sexual abuse at the Horace Mann School; Arts & Leisure editor; digital deputy of the Culture desk; and Metro reporter covering higher education, where she explored complicated campus politics and revealed the brutal working conditions at N.Y.U.’s glittering Abu Dhabi campus. She also wrote the City Critic and Ethicist columns. Her role in Opinion will be as a catalyst for the deep and satisfying conversations that Opinion convenes around ideas.
Originally from Tenafly, N.J., Ariel is a graduate of Princeton University.
Please join us in congratulating Lauren and offering a warm welcome to Ariel.
Vanessa mobley joins opinion to lead op-ed team, adrienne shih and adam westbrook join opinion, eleanor barkhorn joining opinion.