A photo of a stack of newspapers, with the crossword puzzle on top and a page labeled “opinion” on the bottom. A blue pen rests on top of the crossword page. Bannon Morrissy / Unsplash

Carolina Public Press values and creates opportunities for open dialogue and civic engagement. We are dedicated to fostering the crucial civic conversations that fuel our democracy. We also recognize the profound impact that diverse perspectives have in shaping our state’s narrative, and we believe that every voice in North Carolina deserves to be heard. In our unwavering commitment to amplifying community voices, we invite all readers to contribute their insights and viewpoints by submitting op-eds for our NC Talks newsletter. Topics can include local community events, news commentary, political science and other topics.

Below is a comprehensive guide for how to write, submit and publish your op-ed with Carolina Public Press. This guide is adapted from the Washington Post article “How to write an op-ed for the Washington Post.” We look forward to hearing from you. 

Table of contents

What is an op-ed?

What are the submission guidelines?

What is CPP’s editorial process?

How do you choose which op-eds to publish?

Do you pay op-ed writers?

Can I write under a pseudonym?

Can I write in my own voice? Or what is the tone or style for the op-ed?

What is the fact-checking process for op-eds?

Ready to submit?

What is an op-ed?

According to The Journalist’s Resource, an op-ed is a “column that represents the strong, informed, and focused opinion of the writer on an issue of relevance to a targeted audience.” In our case, that targeted audience is the population of North Carolina. 

Op-ed columns are based on opinion but are also well-researched and contain appropriate quotations or citations. Please link to studies or articles you reference and use direct quotes from sources. We will fact-check all columns to ensure that our audience receives accurate and factual information.

We encourage you to think of your op-ed piece as a conversation with neighbors—a conversation with a point. Consider reading your column out loud to see how it sounds. 

For more resources on how to write an op-ed, see the Journalist’s Resource and Duke University articles on this topic. 

What are the submission guidelines?

To be considered, columns must:

  • Be fewer than 700 words.
  • Be written by a current resident of North Carolina.
  • Be the original work of the author and not have been published elsewhere.
  • Be submitted with the author’s full name, telephone number,email,l and home address, including the city of residence.
  • Anonymous authors or authors using pseudonyms will not be considered.
  • Not include any campaigning for or against a specific political candidate or political party.
  • Include a brief biography of the author of no more than 20-25 words.

All columns will be edited for clarity and organization, and we will fact-check and copy edit columns to adhere to the style used by Carolina Public Press (usually Associated Press Style). We will ask authors to sign off on changes and to disclose any ties to political, business or personal interests relevant to the column’s subject before publication. 

We request that authors are responsible for the entirety of what they write and submit and credit other sources when the writing is not the author’s original work. This includes content generated from the use of natural language processing tools driven by artificial intelligence (AI) technology and large language models (LLMs).

The columns published in NC Talks by Carolina Public Press do not represent the views of our nonprofit news organization. They are the opinions and beliefs of the letter writer. Carolina Public Press is responsible for making any and all decisions related to the publication of columns. We cannot provide any guarantees of publication.

What is CPP’s editorial process?

Having your writing edited feels vulnerable, but we assure you that the editing process elevates your work and ensures that it complies with our high standards for accuracy, content, and style. 

Our op-ed process typically looks like this: 

  1. Your essay is fact-checked for accuracy, and links to reputable sources are added when necessary. 
  2. An editor makes suggestions that will help with style and clarity of the piece. 
  3. You approve the changes to your essay and/or add to the piece to clarify your point. 
  4. Your essay is sent to a copy editor, who checks grammar and aligns the piece with AP style guidelines and CPP’s style guide.

We make every effort to preserve your tone and voice throughout the editing process. We expect the process to take around a week to complete edits and prepare a draft for publication. 

How do you choose which op-eds to publish?

Carolina Public Press is a trusted news outlet for people in North Carolina and beyond, and we expect our op-ed contributors to uphold our high standards of accuracy and integrity. We look for op-eds that inform as well as present an argument—that deepen the conversation among residents of our state. 

Our op-eds work with the news cycle but are not directly tied to it, meaning that we try to publish timely op-eds but do not expect that they will always break news. 

We do not publish op-eds that are factually incorrect or derogatory. 

Do you pay op-ed writers?

At this time, we do not pay op-ed writers for their contributions. This may change in the future. If you have an idea for a longer piece and would like to submit a project as a freelance writer, please use this submission form, and our editor will be in touch. 

Can I write under a pseudonym?

Generally, no. Unless there are extreme circumstances (publishing your op-ed risks your safety), we ask all contributors to use their full name and location. 

Can I write in my own voice? Or what is the tone or style of the op-ed?

We’re looking for conversational, approachable, nonpartisan, and fact-based columns on the public issues that matter the most—things like access to democracy, the environment, health care, education, government, and any number of other issues that matter to you.

We’re also very interested in hearing from people who are from diverse backgrounds, who live in any/all corners of the state, and who have a fresh perspective to share. We invite you to submit columns that reflect your point of view, that can be fact-checked and that are in your own voice.

What is the fact-checking process for op-eds? 

All op-eds are subject to rigorous fact-checking. We go through each essay line by line and verify that all statements are supported by reputable sources. Including links and citations in your essay makes this process much faster for us and is greatly appreciated. Reputable sources include major news outlets, government websites, and primary sources such as medical journals and encyclopedias. 

Ready to submit?

By submitting your NC Talks column, you are agreeing to:

  1. The above submission guidelines.
  2. Editorial and Privacy Policies as detailed on our website.

Do you have any questions or want to see if your idea might fit? Email us at nctalks@carolinapublicpress.org. Be sure to include your name and contact information and a short message that says why your idea is timely and relevant to North Carolinians.

If you’re ready to submit your column, please complete the submission form. We will confirm receipt of your submission and then be in touch if we are considering publishing it.

Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to reading your op-eds.


Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Send an email to news@carolinapublicpress.org.

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