The Star encourages readers to submit Guest Opinions on topics in which they have special interest or special knowledge.
The guidelines are as follows:
The commentary must be an argument, as opposed to an essay written to inform or to educate. Essays that primarily inform or educate have a proper place, but that place is not the Opinion page.
Maximum length is 500 words. We can stretch that limit somewhat in either direction, but only somewhat.
We strongly prefer Guest Opinions on local or state issues. We do not accept guest opinions that are simultaneously submitted to other newspapers that circulate within the Tucson area.
Guest Opinions on candidates, campaigns and political issues must fully disclose the author's relationship - such as a spouse, campaign worker, volunteer or staff member. We will include this information in the interest of transparency. Guest Opinions submitted by candidates will only be published after we share them with the opposing candidate, offering him or her a chance to respond. Both opinions would run together.
We discourage commentaries that refute point-by-point a previous Guest Opinion or syndicated column. The goal should not be to counter a previous argument, but to put forth your own vision of the issue.
If you are responding to a commentary published earlier, your best vehicle is a letter to the editor, not a Guest Opinion.
It is not necessary to call or e-mail beforehand to inform the Star that you are working on a Guest Opinion. Just write it and send it. Most Guest Opinion come to us this way. If you wish to check beforehand anyway, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Since we receive far more guest opinions than we can ever hope to publish, we use several criteria in choosing which articles run:
- Does it appear to add to the public debate?
- Is it an important issue?
- Will it be interesting to our readers?
- Does the writer appear to be a credible voice on the topic?
- Is it clear and focused?
- Is it timely?
- Is it written for a general audience?
- Can it be understood by somebody without a special background or expertise?
- Is the writer local? We generally reject submissions from outside the Tucson area.
- Does it libel anybody? If so, we won't publish it.
We discourage the use of special formats, such as Question and Answer, tongue-in-cheek submissions, or long lists. We much prefer straightforward arguments of your point of view.
We accept submissions by e-mail or postal mail, but we much prefer e-mail submissions. We suggest using the e-mail address for letters to the editor because it replies with an automatic response that lets the sender know his or her letter has been received. With that said, here are the addresses:
Mail: Guest Opinions, 4850 S. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85714
- Be sure to annotate all facts and figures.
- Be sure to put a one-sentence description of yourself at the end of the Guest Opinion.
- Be sure to include your name, address and phone number, so that we can contact you.
- We discourage submissions by national interest groups.
- We seldom publish a commentary written by somebody outside our market area.
- Free-lancers and professional writers especially will be interested in knowing that we do not pay for Guest Opinions.
- There is no set schedule for publishing Guest Opinions. We publish them on most days of the week. Some months we publish many; other months few. That depends on their availability and suitability.
- Unfortunately, we cannot acknowledge Guest Opinions that we decide not to publish.