Home > News > How to ... > How to contact editorial boards
How to contact editorial boards
Posted: February 17th, 2009 @ 10:00pm
Only larger newspapers actually have an "editorial board," which consists of five to ten opinion writers, editors and (sometimes) selected reporters. Below a certain size threshold, say, 35,000 circulation, newspapers usually have no more than an editor of the editorial page and a columnist.
What you want is an "editorial." Strictly speaking, this is an unsigned short essay written by newspaper staff and printed below the paper's masthead on the "editorial page" or in the Sunday "Outlook" or "Viewpoint" section.
WHETHER YOU'RE GOING TO TALK TO ONE EDITOR OR THE WHOLE GROUP, SOME GUIDELINES APPLY
Find out where the newspaper stands on your issue. If you can't do this by word of mouth or a computer database, just call the editorial office and ask. You might get bounced around from secretary to clerk to writer, but be patient until you get a clear answer.
If they already agree with you, call to congratulate them on how intelligent they are and introduce yourself as "someone in the community who cares about this issue." Offer to be a source for the future. It always helps to be able to sincerely describe yourself as a dedicated/longtime reader.
If they already disagree with your position, ask them for guidelines on submitting an OP-ED, an essay of 10-15 short paragraphs. When you submit your OP-ED, point out the newspaper's stance and thank them in advance for being fair enough to print your side of the story.
If they are NEUTRAL or ignorant on your issue, they are ripe for a visit. Schedule 30-60 minutes with them. Ask them to consider inviting the reporter who covers the news on this issue to attend the meeting. When you go, bring along a friend or an expert, and talk the editor into agreeing with you.
DON'T LEAVE WITHOUT ASKING DIRECTLY FOR THEIR SUPPORT
"Will you support us on this issue?" And ask when you might expect to see an editorial.
Follow up with a thank-you note immediately afterward, and with a congratulatory and grateful phone call when they print the editorial.