I attended The OpEd Project workshop in San Francisco last November to learn strategies that would help me communicate my ideas to a broader audience. My goal was to publish an op-ed in a major media outlet – particularly The New York Times. During the workshop, I learned all that and more. Since the workshop, however, I have realized that publishing op-eds can be less straightforward than I had imagined.
After The OpEd Project workshop, I worked with a mentor-editor, and sent an op-ed off to several major newspapers. I did not receive a single response. Thus, I sent that piece off to Racialicious and Counterpunch. Those alternative media outlets published versions of it.
Trying to publish an op-ed in a mainstream media outlet did not work that time. Ironically, I got my next op-ed published by not trying to publish one.
In January 2013, I wrote a report on mass deportations. It has several graphics and is a bit long for an op-ed. Thus, I posted it on my own blog, thinking people might find the data useful. Roberto Lovato, co-founder of Presente.org, saw the post and shared it with his connections in the media. The post generated interest among reporters and I had a phone interview with Elise Foley of the Huffington Post. She wrote a post about the report, and then Salon and Alternet picked it up.
An editor at the Boston Review saw the Salon article and contacted me to ask if I could write something for their next issue. My short piece came out in the March/April issue of the Boston Review
Since then, I have had radio and other newspaper interviews, and have published two Opinion pieces in Al Jazeera.
I will continue to work on my goal of getting an op-ed in the New York Times, but, for the time being, am happy knowing that, wherever I publish, there are myriad ways the information could be disseminated.