Guest commentary guidelines
The Reformer is excited to publish guest commentaries that provide insight into the important issues facing Minnesotans and our democracy. Our guest commentaries have already provoked important debates on issues like police reform, health care and voting rights.
You don’t need to be an experienced writer to publish with us. All pieces require editing, and we take pride in helping commentary writers strengthen their arguments in a collaborative fashion. We encourage writers to sharpen their arguments and plan on writing around 750 words.
Nonprofit and other organizations should also consider a Reformer guest commentary to be an opportunity to spur discussion around issues they focus on. That said, as a 501(c)3, the Reformer is a nonpartisan, independent organization that does not endorse candidates or ballot measures. We do not accept contributions from political parties or candidates for office.
Here are a few guidelines:
- Check your facts. Please do not submit pieces with factual errors or bad faith arguments intended to deceive.
- Keep it local. You should be addressing an issue of importance to Minnesota and its elected officials and policymakers. It should not be so narrow as to leave out wide swaths of our audience. You can write about a national issue, but it should also be of interest to Minnesotans and have a clear connection to Minnesota. There are more than enough takedowns of the current president. We are not looking for another.
- Be clear. The most important facet of a well-written piece of argumentation is clarity. Assume that your audience knows very little about your subject and include concrete examples when possible.
In addition, there are basic journalistic ethics that commentary writers should observe, even in the realm of opinion:
- Do not accept gifts in the process of conceiving, writing and publishing your guest commentary from potential interested parties.
- If you are representing the Reformer, please be respectful and truthful as you interact with the public while writing your guest commentary. (For instance, if you call a spokesperson for a comment.)
- Be transparent: Please disclose any relationship you have with the subject of your guest commentary. For instance, if you are a lobbyist on an issue, or have some financial interest in an issue, this must be disclosed. We will disclose it to our readers.
A note on editing: The Reformer is under no obligation to publish your work, and we may reject a submission that doesn’t meet our standards for accuracy, writing quality or relevance to our audience. We may make suggestions to improve your piece. You are free to decline our suggestions, but there’s no guarantee we will publish the guest commentary.
If you have a good photograph or some other way to visually illustrate your writing, feel free to include it.
Finally, although we are passionate about Minnesota politics and policy, that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun.
So join the fun and submit a guest commentary!