Why Newspaper Op-Eds are Still Important even though Newspapers are Losing Readers

by Nancy Curry

A colleague shared an interesting article on op-eds from PR Week.

While it’s certainly not news that The New York Times leans left and The Wall Street Journal leans right …. it’s worth remembering that op-eds offer distinct advantages in communicating with important audiences.

Consumers are suffering from information overload: between cell phones, the Web, cable television, satellite radio, text messaging, instant messaging, magazines on the newsstand, billboards, direct mail, etc. … we are bombarded with messages 24 hours a day. It’s no wonder that people are experiencing news “fatigue” and tuning out much of what they read and hear.

Having an article on the op-ed page gets your message in front of smaller but influential audiences who actively seek viewpoints that have been culled from the noisy herd. These readers tend to skew older, and more educated. And, even with fewer people reading the print version of their daily newspaper, readership is rising for the papers’ Web sites.

Getting an op-ed published doesn’t mean the newspaper endorses your point of view, but it does mean the editors consider your opinion worth hearing … in the “expensive real estate” that is their print edition. In today’s cluttered media environment, that’s saying something.

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