How to write an op-ed for JTA

(Pixabay)

Many experts have written about crafting the perfect op-ed. But what about crafting the perfect op-ed for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency?

First and foremost, we’re in the market for fascinating pieces that will spark conversation between Jews around the world. Whether it aims to delight, inspire, entertain or inform, an ideal op-ed provides something new and of value to anyone who reads it.

That might sound like a tall order, but if you’re feeling up to the task, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Read what we’ve published before.

The best way to get a sense of the op-eds JTA is interested in publishing is to read our Opinion pages. It should go without saying, but don’t pitch us a story someone else has already written for us.

Submit compelling, timely, thesis-driven pieces with a Jewish angle.

JTA is a Jewish news site, and as such, the most relevant pieces for us will relate directly to a developing news story of interest to the global Jewish community or an emerging issue that deserves wider coverage. In addition to op-eds tied to the news cycle, we’re also interested in pieces that offer fresh solutions to familiar or persistent challenges in Jewish communal, political, social and religious life. A piece that is thesis-driven is written to advance an idea, not an ideology, event, or organization.

Stake a bold claim and back it up with evidence.

Before you pitch an op-ed, ask yourself: Why am I qualified to tell the story I want to tell?

We love first-person pieces, and the best ones focus on the writer’s personal experience and how it intersects with or sheds light on a dilemma in the broader social, religious and/or political arena.

If you don’t have a unique experience or insight that makes you the best person to tell the story, you’ll need to be willing to do the work. Come armed with expert interviews, data and other sources to back up your claim. Make sure to source and hyperlink all of your claims, and ensure that there’s a clear connection between the evidence you bring and the opinion you present. Opinion journalism is still journalism.

Approach old ideas in a fresh and engaging way.

It’s not enough to just pitch a story with your opinions about anti-Semitism, Israel, identity politics or the Holocaust. While these are all topics our readers are interested in, new op-eds should provide something that hasn’t been said before.

Write with Jewish diversity in mind.

You know the old saying: Two Jews, three opinions. Our readers span the globe and all have different ideas about politics, Israel, religion and Jewish life. Ideally, op-ed writers will be able to add a unique voice to the mix and speak to all of our readers in a compelling way, whether those readers agree with your opinions or not.

Once you’re ready to write, send a pitch by email (a few sentences about yourself and the piece you’d like to write) to Ladkins@jta.org. If your piece is a good fit, we’ll be in touch. Unfortunately, we don’t accept any pieces that have been published elsewhere.

We look forward to reading your stories.