At our Informed Opinions Writing Compelling Commentary workshops, we ask participants to identify a news hook related to their thesis that will ensure editors view their op ed as timely and relevant. It helps to give them a reason to publish the commentary now, versus three weeks from now (which often translates to never.)
Because it’s not always possible to find a current news hook for the op ed they’re working on, we encourage them to monitor the news regularly until they find something that can be used to help get their informed opinion onto the commentary pages. This can be a time-consuming task.
But Google Alerts is a helpful and easy-to-use tool for keeping a close eye on what’s happening on the web and in the news around your area of expertise. By submitting keywords related to your topic or area of research or interest, along with your preferred email address, you will receive all related web content (news, blogs, videos, discussions, books) straight to your inbox either as-they-happen, once a day or once a week.
This allows you to start crafting your op ed as soon as you see a news hook that inspires you, or adapt a previously started op ed to make it more relevant to breaking news. At the same time, it supports you in keeping on top of the coverage of your issue, to make sure you are providing new information, a fresh perspective, or an angle that hasn’t previously been considered or explored.