Notes from the Ombudsman: How to Get Noticed at the Editorial Desk

Hats off to the Washington Post Ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, for his gem of an article from Sunday's paper which provides tips on how to potentially get published in the editorial section of the outlet, particularly the Letters to the Editor page.

Alexander notes that, "...newspapers inform, but they also incite. And nothing embodies the First Amendment like a riotous exchange of views on the opinion pages." Isn't that the truth! Admittance into the always hot opinion section of national papers is always high the list for many organizations and individuals that have a stake in our communities and want their voices heard.

If you or your organization has a hot topic to address and think it should be in the Washington Post (or other high visibility media outlets) consider this: You have less than a 4 percent chance that it will get published.

For perspective, the Post receives an average of 300 letters to the editor a day, or more than 109,000 a year. Only about 3,900 are selected for publication; roughly 75 a week. Fear not! Alexander has some tips to share that might get your entry noticed...

According to Alexander, the way into the hearts of the Post's editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt, is to do the following:

  • If something in The Post stirs you, sound off with a letter to the editor;
  • do it fast;
  • be concise and;
  • if it makes sense, send it Friday afternoon.

This is good solid advice that pretty much holds true for most media outlets with national reach. It's one of the most honest list of tips I've seen on this topic in a while and recommend trying them out next time you have an issue to raise with the Washington Post or others.


BBC has a Sense of Humor

If it were only this easy...!