Your local and campus media can be a powerful tool for sharing your story, raising awareness, inspiring action, and making sure elected officials are paying attention to the issues you care about.
To complete this activity, you must submit an op-ed to your local media outlet about the intersection of science, equity, and justice as it relates to local issues in your community.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started.
Step 1: Do your research
- Identify the campus or local newspaper or media outlet that you’d like to work with and track down their submission requirements.
- Find out the word limit. Op-eds are usually 550 to 725 words.
- Check the archives to see if other articles have been written on your topic and what views were taken. Differentiate yourself from what has already been published.
Step 2: Outline your letter or op-ed
- Tell your story: who are you, and why do you care about this issue?
- Introduce the problem: how is this affecting you and your neighbors?
- Highlight local impacts with stories or data that strengthen your main point.
- End with a strong conclusion. Whatever you are asking your audience, make sure your conclusion is clear and forceful.
- For further tips and recommendations, check out these resource guides for writing an op-ed or a letter to the editor.
Step 3: Fill in the details:
- Be nonpartisan. Your op-ed or letter to the editor can help educate students and community members about nonpartisan, science-based solutions. Avoid calling out candidates by party affiliation.
- Here are some other great examples and prompts, developed with the Union of Concerned Scientists and 500 Women Scientists as part of their Get Out the Vote campaign in 2018.
Step 4: Review your newspaper’s requirements and submit
- Follow up. After you submit the op-ed wait a week and then follow up to find out if it has been accepted and will be printed.
More about this activity
This activity was part of our efforts to mobilize students, scientists, and advocates around the country to publish op-eds and letters to the editor in local media outlets ahead of the 2020 presidential elections.
As part of this effort, Science Rising was proud to partner with the National Science Policy Network (NSPN) and its 2020 Election Initiative. As part of the NSPN’s Advocacy Track for engagement, participating chapters received support on framing, editing, and promoting their op-eds.