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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

October 24, 2013 at 11:17 AM

How to submit a guest column for Education Lab

The Seattle Times welcomes submissions of guest commentaries for the Education Lab Blog.

To be seriously considered, a submission should make a strong solution-oriented argument about education and be between 300 and 500 words in length. We give highest priority to local writers writing about local topics.

We require first-publication rights for print and online to all of our 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 do not run op-eds by the same writer within a 30-day period.

How to submit

  • We prefer submissions to be made by email. To ensure your submission will be considered in the most timely fashion, please send it to educationlab@seattletimes.com.
  • 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 author’s name and 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 We do not publish op-eds written anonymously or under pseudonyms.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 30 KB, and a biography of 30 words or fewer
  • Please include Web URLs for statistics, facts and reports mentioned in your op-ed submission.

Do’s and Don’ts for Guest Column Writers

Here are some writing guidelines you may find useful.

DO make a solution-oriented argument and state it forcefully.

DO be civil. It’s 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.

DO be patient. We usually work at least a week in advance.

DO be willing to submit photos, videos 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. That’s a petition, not an op-ed. We do not publish guest columns in Education Lab written by more than one author.

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 300 and 500 words.

DON’T key the op-ed off an invented “public awareness” event. 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.

For questions:

Caitlin Moran, cmoran@seattletimes.com, 206-464-3226.

| More in About Education Lab, Guest opinion

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