Communications Success Snapshot: Placing Your Op-Ed

Caitlin Johnson
March 15, 2013

 This quick case study looks at the March 1, 2013 op-ed Smartening Up On Approach To Young Offenders by Bart Lubow in The Hartford Courant and the two reports it covers:

Bart Lubow is no stranger to effective communications. As director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group, he is a go-to expert for reporters covering the issue.

So it’s no surprise that his name landed in the editorial pages of The Hartford Courant the week that the Casey Foundation launched a new KIDS COUNT data snapshot, “Reducing Youth Incarceration in the United States.”

This success serves as a good reminder to all of us about the importance of targeting your communications. Done well, op-eds and Letters to the Editor are a good way to make a little capacity go far.

How did Lubow and his colleagues land this op-ed in the state capital’s primary newspaper? A few tactics certainly helped:

  1. Bart Lubow may not be a household name (okay, he’s no Meryl Streep) but he’s a very  well-recognized leader in his field; wherever possible, having a credible expert attach his or her name to your op-ed is a good strategy.
  2. The op-ed itself is targeted and concise. Note the way it starts with a statement directly relevant to Connecticut residents and then pulls out five specific highlights; it doesn’t try to cover the entirety of the two reports in its 590 words.
  3. The op-ed couples the Casey report with another report that was also released that week (by Casey’s philanthropic ally, the Tow Foundation) – it confirms the Connecticut findings and that’s noteworthy.
  4. The frame is solutions-focused and the tone upbeat—and it’s not every day that a juvenile justice op-ed is positive and energizing. Look at how he tackles potential concerns; it’s almost jaunty: “Best of all, Connecticut's decreased reliance on youth confinement has neither sparked any increase in juvenile crime nor increased costs to taxpayers.”

Way to go, Mr. Lubow (and AECF).

Looking for tools and templates to create powerful op-eds, and reach the right media contacts to submit them? Check out our media tool.

If you’ve got communications ideas or questions, let us know. We’re here to help!

This post was originally published in March 2013, and was most recently reviewed and updated in February 2015.

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