The opinion editorial (OpEd) is a genre of persuasive writing that is meant to appear in periodicals. The purpose of the OpEd is to proliferate a position on a social, political, cultural, environmental, scientific, ethical or other pressing issue. OpEds can be authored by individuals, groups of individuals or organizations as position pieces stating to the public how they see a particular issue. When authored by organizations or public figures (like politicians, CEOs, leaders) they are there to inform the public about their stance. In some cases, opinion editorials advocate for or against a particular policy or action. In other cases, they are raising issues that the authors want the public to be more aware of–to start a conversation and provoke thought. In any of these cases, opinion editorials are meant to take a stance on an issue–advancing a particular view or lens for the public to consider when thinking about or discussing the issue at hand.
This short writing assignment (500-‐750 words) involves developing an editorial that advocates a position in favor of a specific policy or action related to the issue of health and social justice that you identified in your topic proposal. As an oped writer you need to advance a compelling argument – such as the promotion or rejection of a policy or an argument for the recognition of an emerging problematic trend – and explain why a busy public and policy-‐makers should support your position. This argument must be supported using concrete scientific evidence and reasoning and language that is appropriate to a general audience (i.e., no jargon or acronyms).
A successful editorial will perform the following functions well (These do not need to appear in a particular order.):
Frame the issue: Part of your job in the editorial is to educate your reader and get them to care about the issue. This is tricky. You need to give your reader background about the topic, but you only have 500-750 words, so you can’t spend the entire piece giving them a health lesson. Provide a quick and easy explanation that tells the reader what is important about the issue and why they should care.
Defend your stance: Your stance is your informed opinion. Your opinion should be clear and obvious to your reader. Please avoid making your opinion so strong that you are forcing it down your reader’s throat. Please avoid making your opinion so balanced that it’s hard to know where you stand.
Offer a recommendation(s): Explain what are some practical, relevant courses of action that could address the problem as you frame it. Your recommendations can be concrete or conceptual. Concrete recommendations includes any actionable step such as policy changes, distribution of resources, changes in leadership. Conceptual recommendations include ideas for your reader to consider, an ideal future for your reader to envision. The recommendation should leave your reader pondering the possibilities for solving the problem you’ve posed.
Support your claims: As you frame your issue and defend your opinions, you should be using supporting evidence. Evidence gives your reader a chance to follow up on your ideas and educate themselves better. It also makes your argument more convincing, showing that your opinion is grounded in reality.
Citations: Although op-eds do not typically include references, in this assignment, you will need to include at least 2 of the 3 citations from your annotated bibliographies (You can use all three and you can use more than 3). Two citations are the minimum. Any statistics or facts that are not common knowledge need to include a citation. References should be cited at a specific point in the text using MLA or APA style (see links in iLearn Module), for example, “According to the World Health Organization (2010), …”. At the end of the Op-‐Ed, all citations should be listed under the title heading “References Cited”.
Submission: You can submit your OpEds as a file upload or type directly into the text box.
Formatting: Please include a descriptive title and your name. If you submit a document to iLearn, you can format however you like. Double space or single space. You must observe the word limit.
Word Count: News rooms will reject articles that do not conform to word limits. Your editorial should be no less than 500 words and no more than 750 words. (That’s about 2-3 pages double-spaced pages.) At the end of your OpEd, include the total word count of the piece (excluding the title and references). Most word processing programs as well as the Canvas text editor should keep track of your word count.
Word Count: At the end of your OpEd, include the total word count of their piece (excluding the title and references). Most word processing programs as well as the iLearn text editor should keep track of your word count.
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