Even Rodin, the French sculptor who created iconic images like The Thinker, (left) might have a hard time getting his opinions published in some media outlets today. That is, unless the artist also possessed a writing style with a strong viewpoint that was provocative or counterintuitive with a catchy, conversational tone.
Those were some of the pointers from the editorial panelists at a recent PCNY event on pitching opinion pieces, bylined and contributed content. Other desirable criteria include articles with compelling angles that are well sourced and grounded in facts. Self-serving or promotional pieces don’t make the cut. So if a sculptor like Rodin was intent on seeing his name in print or online, he’d be well advised to write about the fine arts category, not focus exclusively on his own masterpieces.
The panelists represented a broad array of digital and print outlets with varying degrees of difficulty for outside submissions to break through. These included: CNN Digital, Bloomberg View, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Ad Age and The Muse. Of course the industries these media brands cover aren’t targeted or limited to art. They encompass categories ranging from politics and economics to technology, marketing, media, careers and lifestyle.
Each editor painted a brief picture of their outlet and provided tips for prospective guest contributors.
CNN Digital: The Opinion section of the site “hosts a wide range of views across the spectrum of politics, religion, arts and other areas”, explained Richard Galant, senior opinion editor. They only publish one or two outside submissions per day, and they want original, exclusive hooks to ongoing news stories.
Bloomberg View: Editorial board member Frank Wilkinson described the two-year old site as “a startup within a large news organization”. He said their op-ed page only takes selected outside contributors since they now produce more opinion related content in-house. Their core focus is the intersection of economics, finance, government and cultural issues, and they look for densely researched pieces.
Business Insider: The site has evolved, according to managing editor Jessica Liebman. There are now 15 sections, like technology, finance, retail, politics, sports, lifestyle, military and defense, with plans to add energy and healthcare. Their current focus is having quality contributors and selected bloggers post about newsy or fun topics.