Warm-Up 7.1: How to Write an Op-Ed Article
Op-ed is short for opinion-editorial. Traditionally, this type of writing has appeared in newspapers and magazines in their editorial pages. Longer than a letter to the editor, an Op-Ed piece provide the writer an opportunity to share a different perspective on a particular issue or problem. The intent of this type of reading is to educate or persuade the reader to take action. It is written in an essay format, typically between 700 and 800 words. It is written in an active voice.
Preparing an Op-Ed Article
Your assignment instructions provide you a basic overview of the topic you will need to address. Before you begin writing, however, you will need to begin to investigate the topic. What is known about this? What does research say about this issue?
Once you have completed your research, you will need to organize your information. An outline will assist you in doing this effectively and efficiently.
Begin by determining the three key points related to the issue or problem of which you want the reader to be aware.
Your introduction should lay out the issue or problem in a clear and concise manner. It is important to get to the point quickly.
From there, you will then need to present each of your key elements, using your research to support each. Remember to cite your information.
The major difference between a standard short essay and an Op-Ed article concerns the conclusion. It needs to summarize the entire issue succinctly, tying back to your introductory statement. You have two options to end your Op-Ed article.
You may suggest a possible action or conclusion – the reader should consider recycling, volunteering, etc. — OR you may state an action or conclusion — recycling has reduced waste; volunteering has helped increase student reading success, etc.
It’s your turn to act as an agent of change. For this assignment, you will compose an op-ed piece that relates to a social issue or problem in your community. An op-ed piece is an opinion article that presents an alternative perspective of an issue. While op-ed pieces often are found in a newspaper’s editorial section, they are written by experts or members of the public who wish to share their observation or opinion on a current issue. They are slightly longer than a letter to the editor, and present a single, clear point of view. They are intended to catch the public’s attention and generally also include a call for action on the issue.
Write an op-ed article that reflects the core principles of community psychology that you have identified in previous activities and readings for this course, and focuses on what you believe to be a pressing social issues or problem in your community. Although this is an opinion piece, you will still need to ensure your facts as presented are accurate and cited. Although you do not need to submit your article to a local media outlet, you certainly may, especially if you find that the topic is one you believe is timely and for which you have an identified passion as an agent of change.
Length: 1-2 pages