For Writers

Deadlines

In most cases, op-eds written by established OtherWords partners with assigned deadlines are due on a Wednesday at noon (Eastern Time). If you miss a deadline, there is no guarantee that the column will be distributed. By noon on the Monday before your deadline, the author or his or her organization must tell the editor what the topic will be. Our partners are able to, and encouraged to, request changes in these slots to accommodate the news cycle.

OtherWords runs on average four op-eds each month by authors who don’t work for our partner organizations. Contact us at otherwords@ips-dc.org if you’d like to submit an op-ed for consideration after reading the basic guidelines listed here.

Length

The op-eds we run typically are between 450 and 650 words long. Please aim for 600 words. Our absolute maximum length is 700 words.

Bylines

We prefer that articles be bylined by one single writer. We won’t publish anything with more than two names in the byline. Include at the bottom of your op-ed a brief description of who you are and your organization, if you work for one.

Copyrights

OtherWords licenses its content through Creative Commons, using an “Attribution-No Derivatives Work” license. This allows others to share the content but requires attribution and does not allow for derivative works (others may not alter, transform, or build upon the work). We believe this protects the interests of our writers while allowing for the maximum flexibility in distributing content.

Audience

Many of our readers live in America’s heartland, so think of your long-lost Aunt Bertha as your audience. Express yourself in clear, jargon-free language.

Uniqueness

Newspaper editors turn to OtherWords to get something new and different. So we need to provide them with items they haven’t seen before. We won’t consider any op-eds that have run previously through another major newspaper syndicate because many of our subscribing editors get other syndicates too. We will consider on a case-by-case basis commentaries that have run previously on the Web.

Distribution

We would like to get our work more widely read on the Web. If you plan to send out an op-ed you wrote for us through other portals, please coordinate with us so that the work getting distributed is the same version. When possible, mention that we are distributing it.

Editorial Responsibilities

OtherWords will let writers and/or their communications representatives know by Friday at noon if there are significant editorial questions or concerns with op-eds submitted by the previous Wednesday.

We edit and proofread op-eds to ensure that they meet newsroom standards. If changes are significant, we will run them — with tracking — by the person who submits the op-ed for review. If an op-ed requires major revisions, we will return it to you to work with the author or rewrite it until it meets newsroom standards and we reserve the right to decline op-eds, even if they are written by our partner organizations.