6.2. Bylined Articles

A byline is the line showing the author's name at the beginning of an article. Basically, a bylined article is attributed to a source rather than being anonymous.

Bylined articles can be any length, and they tend to based on opinion. They articulate views and opinions that are clearly the writer's own, without requiring objectivity.

Issues, trends, and predictions regarding Linux and open source are ideal subjects for bylined articles. Moreover, forward-looking pieces are of high interest. Editors are always looking for "the next thing" to tell their readers about.

Opinion articles are important to position your organization as the leader and trendsetter in your field. To be a guru is to be watched, quoted, respected, and followed. Editors like highlighting celebrated members of the community because they sell more issues.

Gauging the interest of the news media is very important. What's hot? What are they writing about? Check the topics listed in their editorial calendars. Try to match their interests to the activities of your organization in the community. Then start writing your opinion piece.

Typically, the author of a bylined article should be your organization's designated spokesperson and acknowledged authority for the media. That might be you or a senior official. Sometimes a public relations professional will ghost-write the piece for the spokesperson, whose name will appear on the article. When this occurs, the article must closely reflect the spokesperson's views and ideas. In other words, he or she "owns" the ideas expressed in the article, not the writer.

An added bonus of by-lined articles is that they can be adapted into speeches for possible speaking opportunities. Conversely, any speech can be written as a by-lined article.