Interview with WSJ Op-Ed Editor, James Taranto

James Taranto, WSJ Op-Ed Editor

By Estelle Erasmus

I  interviewed Wall Street Journal Editorial Features  Editor, James Taranto  for   ASJA Direct: Inside Intel on Getting Published and Paid Well.  The podcast is up on the ASJA site. Also, check out existing podcasts here with other top editors.


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James Taranto edits the Journal’s op-ed pages. Until January 2017 he wrote the popular Best of the Web column for In August 2007 he was named a member of the Journal’s editorial board.

From 2000 through 2008, his column appeared at, of which he was editor. He previously served as the Journal’s deputy editorial features editor. He joined the Journal in 1996 as an assistant editorial features editor after spending five years as an editor at City Journal, the Manhattan Institute’s quarterly of urban public policy. He has also worked for the Heritage Foundation, United Press International, Reason magazine and KNX News Radio in Los Angeles. He is co-editor of “Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House” (Wall Street Journal Books, 2004). He attended California State University, Northridge.

In this interview, I asked James about what he looks for in an op-ed submission and more including:

*His favorite topics to cover
*What demographic he would like to see better represented
*Whether he takes pitches or only complete op-eds
*The minimum and maximum word counts for stories
*What the WSJ pays and what rights they take
*Elements that make an op-ed a must-read
*Red flags for submissions to avoid
*Some of his favorite pieces
*How to contact him
*The hottest news items that he would love commentary on
*What is coming up for the section

Also, check out previous podcast  interviews with editors and agents on the ASJA site (free for ASJA members, and a fee for nonmembers).

See my other interviews here:

With Sari Botton, Essays Editor of Longreads

With Beth Dreher, Features Director, Woman’s Day (print)

With Tyler Moss, EIC, Writer’s Digest

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20 thoughts on “Interview with WSJ Op-Ed Editor, James Taranto”

  1. I am looking forward to the day that I could write a full length novel but I haven’t found the time nor inspiration to do it. This is such a timely read. Thanks for sharing. Who knows in a year or two, I will become a successful novelist!

  2. Great interview. That is awesome he writes for the Wall Street Journal that is inspiring.

  3. It’s definitely not an easy job and he does it well. Such a wonderful opportunity for writers to learn from this interview. I’d love to listen to the entire interview!

  4. I think being an editor would be such a good job. Of course I may be delusional, since I’ve never done it. 🙂

  5. I think it is pretty neat to get the insides scoop. I always wondered how they went about the submission process.

  6. I really enjoy your podcasts. They always offer something informative and relevant to what I’m doing, which is what I always look for in media.

  7. Great interview. I always say that the best way to improve your writing skills is to learn from the best in all areas of the field.

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