Timing is Everything

by Shari Graydon

…Well, not maybe not everything, but when it comes to getting an op ed published in the print vehicle of your choice, how much advance warning you’re able to give an editor, and how long the window of relevance will be open, can sometimes mean the difference between seeing your words in print, and being confined to the limited audience of your blog.

This week Informed Opinions supported two human rights scholars in submitting a really strong piece they’d written about a topical issue. They sent their well-written analysis into a national daily paper on Friday afternoon, hoping it would appear in advance of a pivotal government decision being made the following Wednesday. But by the time the piece was received, both Saturday’s and Monday’s  pages would already have been made up, leaving only Tuesday and Wednesday as options. Given the competition for limited space, the human rights commentary didn’t make it.

If you’re responding to breaking news, that’s often the reality. On the other hand, if you know well in advance that a significant event will occur on a certain date, and you can provide your op ed 10 days or two weeks before that, your chances of being allocated space are much greater: the editor has more flexibility and the opportunity to plan in advance if she thinks your piece is relevant and insightful.

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