HOW TO SUBMIT AN OPINION COLUMN
The Seattle Times welcomes submissions of guest commentaries. We receive more than a hundred unsolicited guest commentaries every week and have spots for only a few.
To be seriously considered, a submission should have strong opinion and be between 500 and 650 words in length.
A guest column is for making arguments about pending issues of public policy and commenting on issues in the news. It is not a place for officials of organizations or government agencies merely to report on programs.
We give highest priority to local writers writing about local topics.
We require first-publication rights for print and online to all of our op-ed submissions. If your op-ed has been published elsewhere in print, on a personal blog or on Facebook, we will not be able to use it.
When we use a freelance article from you, you retain ownership of any copyright to the article and the right to resell it, subject to our right to edit, publish, republish, and reproduce the article in publications and reprints of The Seattle Times Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates. This includes non-exclusive rights to use the article, in whole or in part, in electronic media, including searchable databases and electronic publications in any form and medium, which may include commercial database services where your work may be individually accessed.
If you have written for us before, please note that we space out op-eds by repeat guest columnists by a minimum of four months.
Where to Send
We prefer submissions to be made by email. To ensure your submission will be considered in the most timely fashion, please send it to the op-ed inbox, which is reserved only for such submissions.
Please know that our editors definitely read and consider all submissions that meet our guidelines and we regularly publish op-eds submitted as specified below.
E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mail to: The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111
There's no need to call first to ask if we're interested. If we want to publish it, we'll contact you within five business days.
Please include the text of the submission in the body of the email or in an attached Microsoft Word document. Please do not send us files in PDF format.
Please include the authorís name and op-ed topic in the subject line of the email. We do not publish op-eds written anonymously or under pseudonyms.
Please include a headshot of the author, minimum size 100 KB, and a biography of 30 words or fewer.
Please include Web URLs for statistics, facts and reports mentioned in your op-ed submission.
Writing guidelines: Do's and Don'ts for Op-ed Writers
DO have an opinion and state it forcefully. Many opinion pieces submitted are explanations of an issue rather than knowledgeable arguments about an issue. Those won’t make the cut.
DO be civil. Itís perfectly appropriate to strongly criticize ideas, reasoning or positions that you disagree with. But it is not appropriate to make personal attacks.
DO present the case from the top down. It's usually better to begin with the premise of your opinion rather than assembling the facts and presenting a conclusion at the end.
DO be timely. Editorial sections prefer articles about current events rather than something that happened last year.
DO be patient. We usually work at least a week in advance.
DO be willing to submit simple graphs and charts. They help explain the issue and often enhance the visual presentation.
DON'T submit op-eds that are written by organizations and then shopped around for an author or authors. Thatís a petition, not an op-ed.
DON'T submit a long op-ed and ask for an editor to review it before being willing to cut it to meet the requested word limit. To be taken seriously, the op-ed should fall within the guideline of between 500 and 650 words.
DON'T key the op-ed off an invented “public awareness” event, such as Intellectual Property Day or Public Hospital Week. Indeed there might be something valuable and newsworthy to say about issues related to those or other areas, but the op-ed will be judged on its authentic news value, not on a created awareness event.
DON'T demand review of editing or headlines. Most editors are willing to discuss editing changes for brevity or clarity but are seldom patient with nitpicks. Titles on articles submitted are rarely used because of specific formatting requirements for print and digital publication. Headlines are written by someone who specializes in that skill.
DON'T submit the same piece to different publications at the same time. Editors hate to see a piece on their desk appear in another print or online publication. As a general rule, ride one horse at a time.
DON'T use specialized jargon. Use common English.
Sharon Pian Chan, associate opinions editor / digital, (206) 464-2958
Editorial & Opinion