Yesterday I went to a very interesting workshop put on by the Federal Communicators Network and sponsored by the local chapter of the IABC.
My main take is that while it is difficult to place a piece in the Washington Post, WSJ, and the LA Times, the NYT is invitation only. It seems you are better advised to try for an editorial briefing, or cultivating a relationship with a syndicated columnist.
Interestingly enough, editors are not very interested in hearing form parties to high profile litigation. They would rather hear from policy experts who can examine the larger issues involved. Clearly it pays to cultivate your relationships with think tanks and academics. So much of public relations has nothing to do with media relations.