Right to Research Coalition


Guide for writing FRPAA Day of Action op-eds and letters to the editor

Op-eds: Op-eds tend to be more challenging to get published, but the results are definitely worth the effort – it’s a 500-800 word spot in the newspaper to tell readers exactly what we want them to know.  A great strategy for op-eds is to co-sign them with coalition partners or another influential person, for example, the student government president or the chair of the faculty senate. 

The normal process is to submit your op-ed with a cover letter to the opinion editor, but make sure to check for any special instructions.  Then, follow up ruthlessly.  Did they get it?  Will they print it?   When?  Can you make any adjustments?

Letters to the Editor (LTE): LTEs are typically the easiest form of opinion coverage to get, because newspapers typically publish a number of letters in every issue.  Generally, LTEs are short – 150-250 words – and respond directly to an article published in the paper you’re submitting it to.  The more LTEs submitted on a single topic, the more likely it is that one of them will get published – so you can increase your chances by organizing other students to submit letters at the same time.  See the materials section of this toolkit for a sample LTE and writing tips.

Each newspaper has its own guidelines for submitting letters, so make sure to follow them.  It’s very important to include your contact info, because most editors will want to confirm that you wrote the letter before printing it. When you submit your LTE, call the opinion editor to make sure they received it and make a quick pitch for why it’s an important letter to print.

Writing tips:

Talking points:


FRPAA Background

Economic Benefits of FRPAA / Public Access

NIH Policy

Cost of Journals

  [Guide and writing tips adapted from the StudentPIRG’s Textbooks Campaign Media Toolkit]