Best Op-Ed Piece

Two different op-ed strategies each bring big results

Whether it’s throwing the net wide or targeting a publication more narrowly, two winners ditch the jargon and make their case in op-eds.

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When writing an op-ed, you can aim for a narrow target or cast your net wide.

Our winners in the Best Op-Ed Piece category of the 2013 PR Daily Awards (it’s a tie) show the benefits of each of these approaches.

The winners are:

  • The Marcus Group Inc. and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
  • The U.S. Department of Labor

The Marcus Group Inc. and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital wanted to communicate to Congress that teaching hospitals face the risk of cuts every year in graduate medical education.

So they produced an op-ed timed to coincide with annual Match Day, when medical students are matched with teaching hospitals where they will be residents. They landed the op-ed in the New York Daily News, then distributed that to all congressional representatives, members of the Obama administration, and other key leaders.
The U.S. Department of Labor was looking to heighten awareness about the 1.5 million service members who will leave the U.S. military and enter the civilian job market over the next five years. So it spread the news far and wide by writing an op-ed for 37 newspapers in 19 states, including four of the five markets with the highest concentration of vets, dropping in local data and examples.

Both winners wrote clear op-eds on topics that often become choked in jargon, dealing with the medical industry and a federal bureaucracy. Yet they did so in ways that made clear just why the public was a stakeholder in these decisions. In other words, they passed the what’s-in-it-for-me test that editors look for.

The op-ed “Congress, help us train more doctors” stated, “Health care reform is not enough. Either the federal government must choose to invest in the training of new doctors—or we all learn to live with the inevitable wait to see one.”

The Department of Labor’s op-ed headline, in one paper, was “U.S. Labor Secretary Solis: Honor vets by hiring them,” underscoring the prestige some papers felt in publishing an op-ed bylined by a Cabinet official. And it touted a $5,600 tax credit available to those who hire these vets.

To read The Marcus Group’s winning work, click here.

To read the U.S. Department of Labor’s winning work, click here.

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