Getting Started

The opinion pages are one of the best-read sections of any publication, offering a valuable platform to influence public perspectives and advocate for specific viewpoints. Here's how to get start

Table of Contents

Intro to LTE's and Op-Eds

Pre-Writing Checklist

Templates & Examples


Introduction to LTEs and Op-Eds

There are two basic forms of opinion pieces: letters to the editor (LTEs) and Op-Eds. Before deciding what type of piece you may want to write, here is a quick breakdown of the differences between the two.

Letter to the Editor


Concise and to the point, usually around 100-150 words.

Longer and more in-depth, typically 700-750 words or less.

Includes one or two points succinctly stated.

Discusses a larger theme with supporting points, examples, and stories.

Typically in response to a recently published piece (within the last few days or so), or in reference to recent news.

You can introduce a topic to argue your point of view, but you should still tie the topic to current events.

Submissions are welcome from any reader. LTEs are generally more likely to be published and a better option for newer writers.

Submissions are carefully scrutinized by the editorial team, making op-eds more difficult to get published. More experienced writers have a better shot of getting accepted, so op-eds are more commonly ghostwritten.

Pre-Writing Checklist

Here are a few key things to keep in mind before getting started on your piece.

Templates & Examples

In order to help you get started, here are some basic templates for each type of opinion piece, as well as some great examples of published pieces to use as inspiration.

LTE Template

To the Editor:

Opener: Opening hook, followed by a reference to the article or recent news you’re responding to (i.e. With respect to the article “TITLE”). Support or refute the opinion or decision in question, and state your position.

Body: Explain your stance, including your ties to the issue and why you are speaking out. Add supporting details and explain why other people should care too. Use data, statistics, and/or illustrative examples to back up your claims.

Call to Action: Propose a solution and make a call to action. Clearly outline the urgency of the situation and what is at stake if no action is taken. Describe the possibility for change if we do act.

Conclusion: Recap your point and include specific information on how readers can get involved.



Op-Ed Template




Author / Credentials

Opener: Use a captivating opening to engage the reader. You could lay out a shocking visual or use a powerful story - there are many ways you can grab the reader’s attention. Establish the problem, and the ways in which it directly impacts the reader or their community. Lay out why this argument is timely and why people should care right now.

Body: Over the next few paragraphs, present the problem and argue several supporting points. Use data and statistics to show your claims have merit, and cite powerful examples to bring your argument to life and evoke an emotional response from the reader. Then, provide some hope. Lay out your proposed solution and describe what the future could look like instead if we choose to combat the stated problem as a community. If there is a common counterargument, it may be useful to address and refute it here. You may also want to briefly describe who you are, what efforts you’re making, and why you’re in a position to share your opinion.

Conclusion: Describe what steps can or are being taken to address your points, or perhaps how you or others have already started working towards a solution. Include a memorable detail or story to leave readers with. Echo your opening statement and summarize your argument. Conclude with a call to action, offering specific details on how readers can contribute to this change - and why they should as a part of this community.

Examples of Published Pieces

Published Piece



Author & Organization



Alaina Sigler | Pro-Animal Future


The Gazette

Catherine Klein and Phoenix Huber | Pro-Animal Future


Denver Post

Pat Craig, Christine Capaldo, Dave Roane | Cats Aren’t Trophies


LA Times

Karen Dawn | DawnWatch


The Bulletin

Tamara Drake | Animal Wellness Action


Portland Press Herald

Erica Bartlett | Green Technology Companies


Ghostwriting is the practice of writing content on someone else’s behalf while providing that person credit as the author.

Why might ghostwriting be a good option?

  • Time constraints: While someone might have some great ideas to share, they may not have the time to turn them into writing. A ghostwriter can help bring these ideas to life.

  • Writing abilities: Not everyone enjoys writing, or has an affinity for doing it. They still deserve to have their opinions and/or expertise expressed eloquently and persuasively.

  • Collaboration: Someone who is newer to writing or prefers to work alongside someone else may want the option of having another writer significantly contribute to their piece.

What is the process?

  1. Decide how involved you’d like to be.

  2. Connect with PAF’s Communications Lead, Phoenix Huber to discuss the process and any ideas you might have.

  3. Depending on what you decide, begin collaborating on the piece, start a rough draft, or wait for the piece to be written.

  4. You can reject, edit, or provide feedback on the ghostwriter’s content.

  5. You are in control of the submission of your own piece, and it will not go out until you feel it’s ready.

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