Many of the same research techniques you learned during the white paper can be applied to your op-ed research (e.g., finding images, searching news articles, ethical treatment of sources).
To get started, you will want to search for a publication that features Op-Eds and that would have an interest in your topic.
As a college student, you are likely to find your local newspaper receptive to publishing an Op-Ed by you, because they are eager to present the views of younger writers and to attract a younger, college-educated market. However, if you wish to publish your views in your hometown paper, you will need to make your topic relevant to hometown readers, as we’ll discuss in the next section.
You can also find publications that feature Op-Eds by typing “Op-Ed and (your topic) into the search box of Google. This will provide you with a range of publications that have already focused on your or a related topic.
Once you have identified a venue, it’s important to see if they have already published Op-Eds on your intended topic or a related topic. For example, let’s say you wish to publish an Op-Ed on the housing shortage. You search your target publication to see if they have written other Op-Eds on the housing shortage, rental shortage, housing affordability, and related kinds of Op-Eds. This will tell you if they are receptive to your topic, and also tell you if what you wish to write about has already been covered by this publication. If so, you will either need to move on or take a different angle. As you peruse the history of their prior editorials on your topic, you will also get a feel for whether they will only publish a certain viewpoint (say, conservative or liberal, teens or seniors, and so forth). Whenever you encounter a new genre, it’s important to do a genre analysis. As a professional writer (one who is publishing Op-Eds, in this case) you should be sure to research your target publication before pitching an editorial to them. Individual newspapers and other publications often have a very distinct style and set of conventions.
Along with the search tools mentioned above, you can also search for Op-Eds using the following databases:
Editors of Op-Eds generally prefer that your editorial is linked to current news, particularly in their market. For example, the Philadelphia Inquirer will favor Op-Eds that are discussing matters of direct interest to Philadelphians, and will welcome it if you have links in your Op-Ed to other stories or Op-Eds the Inquirer has published. If you are writing about a topic that is of interest to your selected venue’s readership, but its not linked to current news or to the venue, do your best to emphasize its relevance to the venue’s readership. Use the tools above, and the search box of your target publication, to see if there are any news stories related to your topic.