The Daily Pennsylvanian Opinion Columnist Application (Spring 2019)
You have the power to decide what the campus conversation ought to be.

Outside of Penn, columnists are some of the most revered members of the media industry. They typically have years of experience as experts in their own given fields or they have grown to be expert reporters. Here, as an undergraduate, students have the unique privilege of having their voices heard without prior journalism experience.

At The Daily Pennsylvanian, we are looking for creative, passionate, and hard-working writers to pen columns for Penn's independent student-led news organization.

Email Opinion Editor Isabella Simonetti at if you have any questions. Applications will be accepted until Jan. 27 at 11:59 p.m.

Columnists write weekly or biweekly articles (usually about 650-800 words) and are required to submit their columns by the deadline and to set up in-person editing times with their editor.

The best columnists have a brand. They know why they're writing on a given topic and what makes them an expert. The most successful columnists write on specific topic areas and their readers grow to expect them to deliver.

To be a good columnist, you must identify compelling and relevant topics, report and research their topics thoroughly, and be actively aware of what's important to Penn students and to the broader Penn community. While it's not necessary, some successful columnists are active members of communities on campus and can represent those communities through the columns that they write.

Being a columnist is hard, time-consuming work. That said, this position is extremely rewarding. Your writing and reporting skills will improve tremendously, you will have the rare opportunity to reach thousands of people with every column you write, and you will learn to make this award-winning media organization your home. Opinion columns often garner the most page views and comments among all the sections of the DP.

Here are some examples of successful columns. Please read them carefully so that you know what we're looking for:

Email address *
Name *
Phone Number *
Pronouns *
University affiliation *
(School, Year, Major)
Of which groups at Penn are you an active member? *
Do you hold any leadership positions on campus? If so, specify. *
Have you applied to be a columnist before? *
Have you been a staff member of the DP before? *
If yes, what was your role, and when did you work for the DP?
If you had a choice, would you prefer to write weekly or biweekly (every other week)? *
What do you see as the most important issue facing Penn students, and what is your position on it? *
What are your unpopular opinions about Penn? *
What "brand" would you want to have as a columnist? In other words, what theme(s) would you address primarily in your columns? *
Three Column Ideas *
Please submit a list of three column ideas. Tell us what you want to say, and be as specific as possible. Good column ideas that engage readers traditionally deal with issues directly pertaining to Penn, Philadelphia, or the higher-education community. Check out past DP opinion columns at
Sample Column *
Your sample column should be between 650 and 850 words. Feel free to expand on ideas that you used in the previous section. It should not have been previously submitted to or printed in any publication, including the DP. Headlines are encouraged but not required. Include hyperlinks when appropriate (if you do not know how to do this in your word processor, place URLs in parentheses). You are not required to include original reporting. Please upload a .doc, .docx, or .pdf.
Terms *
By checking this box, you agree that everything submitted in this application is your original work.
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