10 Markets That Pay Freelancers


Ever have an idea for an op-ed?

If your mind jumps to the old-school newspaper section with editorials, opinion pieces, and letters to the editor, you’re probably thinking it’s a waste of time.


But writing op-ed pieces is still a thing. And if you know where to look, the right markets pay well.

Getting paid $300 to $1,500 for opinion pieces, essays, and editorials is still happening.

Let the ideas begin to percolate…


Maybe you’ve learned a few lessons at the School of Hard Knocks.

Maybe you’ve got some insight, views, expertise, or opinions about issues in your niche.

Or maybe some comment on social media is so hot, you’ve got to take a stand.


Chances are pretty good you’ve got an opinion piece in you worth writing.

Check out these 10 op-ed writing markets to share your point of view and get paid for it.

Meet op-ed writer and freelance journalist Cat Woods

Op-Ed Writing: Cat Woods
Cat Woods

When Australia-based op-ed writer and freelance journalist Cat Woods saw celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels light up the Twittersphere with a body-shaming comment about pop singer Lizzo, the idea for an editorial began to form.

It was timely. It was trending on social media. And she had her own take on the issue.

So she pitched the idea and landed an op-ed assignment on spec. Then got paid when The Sydney Morning Herald published her piece, We need to celebrate female artists for their work not their bodies. She’s cashed in on other op-ed writing opportunities, too.

Have you read, seen or heard something that you have a strong opinion on, and some credentials to justify your opinion being published? If so, there’s opportunities to air your opinion and to be paid for it. Check out these 10 publications that pay writers for op-eds.

1. Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera receives an exceptional number of pitches weekly. Typically they feature op-eds by experts and highly experienced writers. Nadim Asrar is a deputy editor for Al Jazeera and his Twitter is @aqliyat.

Tip: Following the opinion site or the opinions editor of the publication you’re interested in writing for on social media is a great way to get a sense of the type of content they prefer and see callouts for pitches or submissions.

Pays: $500 per 600-word piece, according to The Op-Ed Project.

2. CNN Opinion

CNN Opinion accepts submissions of original, exclusive op-eds on topics relevant to current news and affairs. You’ll find opinion pieces on things like the presidential primaries, Oscar award speeches, police and community clashes in New York, and much more.

Tip: Don’t just submit an idea for an op-ed. Write the whole piece at around 600 to 800 words. Include a brief bio, and any unique details about your experience, credentials, or connection to the subject you’re writing about. FYI, if your piece gets accepted, CNN gets exclusive rights.

Pays: $400 per 800-word op-ed piece, according to Who Pays Writers

3. Financial Times

Got an opinion, personal story, or take on a financial topic, money matters, or the global economy? Pitch an op-ed idea to Financial Times editor Brooke Masters (@brookeamasters).

“Readers value the FT for its brevity. So you have at most 800 words, just enough to make a persuasive case for a focused point. Be a miniaturist, not a landscape painter.”

Brooke Masters

Tip: If you don’t hear back within three business days, your pitch didn’t make the cut. Give it an update and submit your op-ed to another publication.

Pays: Depends on assignment

4. LA Times

The Los Angeles Times accepts opinion articles on spec for just about any subject. For example, they’ve published trending opinion pieces about cannabis farming in California, state and national political issues, raising insurance rates on speeding drivers to protect pedestrians, and of course, The Oscars.

Tip: Like a lot of op-ed assignments, pitch the LA Times by writing your complete op-ed on spec. Most op-eds are around 750 to 1,200 words. The guidelines recommend sending your pitch to oped@latimes.com. But here’s another option…the Editorial Page Editor is Nicholas Goldberg.

Pays: Depends on assignment

5. New York Times

The New York Times accepts opinion editorials for the daily print page, online, the Sunday Review, the International edition and seasonal series. Sure, The NYT has its own roster of regular columnists. But it also publishes op-eds from freelancers on a wide range of topics like politics, pop culture, health, science, lifestyle, and more.

Tip: Submit a complete op-ed piece that’s around 400 to 1,200 words, instead of just pitching an idea. Also review the rest of the guidelines, which recommend sending your pitch to opinion@nytimes.com. FYI…the Editorial Page Editor for The NYT is Kathleen Kingsbury (@katiekings).

Pays: $600 to $700 for op-eds, according to The Op-Ed Project.

6. Slate

While newspapers have been dying a slow and painful death for more than a decade, Slate is one of a handful of online news and opinion sites that’s managed to reach an international audience with its own slant on covering news, events, and issues.

Tip: Have an op-ed idea for Slate? Study the guidelines and pitch your op-ed idea, highlighting your main points. Categories include culture, human interest, news/politics, technology, business, health and science, and sports. Choose the correct editor from the bottom of this list.

Pays: $300 for a 1,000 to 2,000-word op-ed, according to The Web Writer Spotlight

7. The Sun

The Sun is a daily print and online newspaper published in the United Kingdom and Ireland, that publishes a wide range of op-eds.

Tip: The hotter the topic, the more likely you’ll get a bite for your complete op-ed. Just take a look at examples on the site about Gwyneth Paltrow on Netflix, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Kirk Douglas fandom, and all kinds of political issues. If accepted, expect heavy editing before publishing.

And if that’s not enough buzz, blogger and journalist Victoria Newton is editor for The Sun.

Pays: $600 for a 2,000 to 4,000 word op-ed or personal essay, according to Web Writers Spotlight

8. Sydney Morning Herald

You don’t need to be from Australia to pitch an op-ed for The Sydney Morning Herald. But knowing a little about issues, current events, and other news from Down Under will only help you appeal to editors.

When Cat Woods pitched The Sydney Morning Herald the op-ed about the Michaes v. Lizzo incident in 2020, it was an international issue unfolding on social media. But she did mention Australia’s efforts to battle its brushfires.

Tip: When you pitch editors an op-ed idea, pointing to previous work that demonstrates your ability to write will be to your advantage. Typically, op-eds relating directly to current news are given priority. Julie Lewis (@JLewisnthenews) is the opinion editor for The Sydney Morning News.

Pays: Approximately $0.34/per word U.S., up to 800 words


Take a look at the current opinion page of TIME, and you’ll find a mix of national and international op-eds about human rights, politics, technology, history, and more.

Tip: Take the time to write a solid subject line and/or working headline when you pitch an op-ed. And get to the point as quickly as possible. And check the list of TIME editors to pitch the right person. The general contact rule is FIRSTNAME_LASTNAME@time.com

Pays: Depends on assignment

10. The Washington Post

The Washington Post opinion section features local, national, and international op-eds about a wide variety of topics. Take a look at past op-eds and you’ll see opinions and viewpoints about the presidential primaries, the coronavirus, fake news frustrations, and many other trending topics.

Tip: The site recommends submitting an op-ed for consideration using the online form. You’ll need to write the complete op-ed for consideration, and keep it under 750 words. But you can also target your pitch to a specific person from this list of opinion editors at The Washington Post.

Pays: Up to $1,500 per op-ed, depends on assignment

There is no need for specialty expertise or credentials, but experienced writers with a portfolio of published work will find it easier to convince editors of their ability to deliver strong copy on time.

A few more tips about op-ed writing

  • Rates: The pay for writing opinion pieces varies widely between publications, and some only offer a byline credit. Before you invest the time to write an op-ed, find out if there’s a paying market for your piece
  • Write on spec. Unless otherwise stated in submission guidelines, most publications expect you to submit a completed op-ed on spec, meaning you’ll only get paid for the piece if it’s accepted or published
  • Beware of the black hole. It’s the submission form or generic editor@ email address so many pubs point you to submit an op-ed. In most cases, you should be able to find a way to contact the opinion editor directly by email or social media
  • Networking opportunities. Getting paid to share your opinion is nice. However, sharing your opinion isn’t the only reason to write opinion pieces. If you’re trying to make a name for yourself as the freelancer in your niche, consider writing an op-ed or guest post (usually for free), and use it as a networking opportunity to connect with prospects
  • 16 more places to get paid to write op-eds. Curious about more markets that pay for op-ed writing, viewpoints and essays? Check out this list

Op-ed writing isn’t likely to become the bread and butter of your freelance business. But there are plenty of opportunities to get paid to write about issues and topics you’re passionate about.

Cat Woods is a freelance journalist based in Melbourne, Australia.

Grow your Writing Income. Freelancewritersden.com

This is an updated version of a story that was previously published. We update our posts as often as possible to ensure they’re useful for our readers.

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