Friday, January 18, 2008

The Op-Ed Project: Writing to Change the World

I've never written an Op-Ed piece, have you? Seems like a good skill to have these days, especially for nonprofits trying to get the word out about their cause.

Unfortunately, if you are a woman, you are less likely to share your opinion on the Op-Ed pages. According to the New York Times article, Stop the Presses, Boys! Women Claim Space on Op-Ed Pages, "Many opinion page editors at major newspapers across the country say that 65 or 75 percent of unsolicited manuscripts, or more, come from men." The article profiles The Op-Ed Project, a training created by writer Catherine Orenstein to teach people how to write for the Op-Ed pages.

Here's what MojoMom had to say about taking the course:
"I was blown away by my recent experience taking Katie's day-long seminar. Even strong and accomplished women may have never thought of publishing an opinion piece before. Feminine socialization is a factor. 'Nice girls' don't make a fuss, and even powerful women can have difficulty claiming their authority. Katie teaches her students how to push beyond that feeling so that we get our ideas out there. When she asks students, 'What are you an expert in?' she has never met a man who says he isn't an expert in anything, but women regularly answer this way."
Staff from nonprofits like Human Rights Watch, the Global Fund for Women, Women’s Funding Network and have taken the training.

If you live in New York, Lindsey Pollak has posted a special code on her blog that gives you 10% off registration for the February 23rd Op-Ed Project class in NYC. Pollak reports, "I have taken this class and it's really excellent."

If you want to get a better idea of what the training entails, the Urban Unrest blog has posted the curriculum from the 4-session teleseminar Orenstein taught for The SPIN Project last fall.

For more information about attending a class, check out the upcoming classes being hosted by the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, or contact Catherine to schedule a training for your organization.

Photo Credit: Perspective II by Editor B/Bart.


  1. Anonymous3:53 PM

    I've found op-eds to be a great way to increase exposure for issues, especially in smaller media markets.

    At Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice we've had great luck bringing attention to issues like nuclear weapons and racial justice using op-eds.

    Take the training, or just do it, it's a great way to do good!

  2. Britt - thanks for the link and mentioning the Op-Ed class. I'm happy to know about your blog and I hope you and your readers will take Katie's class! Not only is it amazing to learn how to write Op-Eds (and how to get them published), but it's also a great opportunity to meet other interesting, passionate women.

    In an election year, I think this class is even more important. Let me know if I can provide any more info about my experience in the class.


    Lindsey Pollak

  3. Anonymous3:29 AM

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  4. Anonymous5:40 PM

    I have found that a cartoon has made more of an impression in gettng folks to remember the issue. Using a charter named EMO to make the point each Friday.

  5. Anonymous12:23 PM

    Courses can be a good way to learn the craft of writing, but, perhaphs, not the art. To grossly paraphrase Stephen King: writing courses are great, but they won't help you be a better writer. Fortunately, many people have the artistic sense already but just need some help with the craft.


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