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Essay #1: Opinion Editorial


Assignment Description

Nearly all news publications have an “Op/Ed” section. Short for “opinion editorial,” an op-ed is a concise essay that offers a writer’s unique viewpoint on a timely event or issue. While similar to an editorial in that it expresses an opinion, the essential distinction between an editorial and an op-ed is that op-eds are typically written by contributors unaffiliated with the publication. In this way, op-eds allow writers to reach a broader audience of stakeholders and potentially persuade them to change their minds or take action regarding an important issue.

For this assignment, you will write a 3-4 pages (750-1000 words) opinion editorial that addresses a social, political, economic, or cultural issue that impacts you, your family, or your community. Within this essay, you must take a position on your chosen topic and support your claims using at least three sources, which may include:

  • An interview with a friend, family member, or neighbor affected by this issue
  • A website (including social media posts, YouTube videos, and other forms of multimedia)
  • A magazine article
  • A newspaper article
  • A scholarly source

To fulfill this assignment, you will need to select a print or digital publication to pitch your op-ed. Be sure to read other op-eds from the publication in order to understand the format, style, and audience that you will work with. Along with your final draft, you will submit a 1-2 page Reflection in which you address several questions about your experience writing this essay, including (but not limited to):

  • What publication are you pitching to and why? Who is your specific audience?
  • What rhetorical situation are you addressing in this op-ed?
  • What rhetorical strategies (style, tone, etc) did you employ given the genre and rhetorical situation?

Throughout the writing process, you will engage in a series of short assignments designed to help you think through these rhetorical strategies before you submit your final draft.

TOPIC REFLECTION (250-500 words)

  • Write a brief description of a social, political, economic or cultural issue that interests you–What is the issue? How has it affected you personally, your loved ones, or your community? What are the implications of this problem on a local, national or global scale?

RHETORICAL ANALYSIS (250-500 words)

  • Identify a print or digital publication to pitch your essay. Then, select an op-ed from the publication and complete a brief rhetorical analysis on it. Your response should address several questions including (but not limited to):
    • Rhetorical Situation: What problem or issue is the author responding to? How to do you know?
    • Author: Who is the author of this op-ed? Is s/he credible? Why or why not?
    • Audience: Who is the targeted audience for this piece? How do you know? What assumptions does the author make about this audience?
    • Purpose: What purpose do you believe the author had in mind when s/he created the text? What rhetorical strategies (logos, pathos, ethos) does s/he use to do achieve this purpose? How so?
    • Stance: What is the author’s stance toward his subject? How do you know? Does the author offer sound reasons for adopting that stance?

Submission

Upload a digital copy of your Final Draft and 1-2 page Reflection as a Word file (.doc or .docx) via Blackboard before 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 5th.

Timeline

Feb 1Review Essay #1: Opinion Editorial Assignment
Feb 5Post Topic Reflection to Bb
Feb 15Post Rhetorical Analysis to Bb
Feb 19Post First Draft To Bb
Feb 19 – 22Peer Review
Feb 26 – Mar 1Individual Conferences
Mar 5Post Final Draft + Reflection to Bb

Evaluation Rubric

  • Organization – 20%
    • Does your editorial have a coherent structure? Are your ideas united and logically organized in a way that leads to a thought-provoking conclusion?
    • Does your editorial adopt the rhetorical conventions (i.e. format, style, etc.) of your chosen publication?
  • Content – 40%
    • Does your editorial include an engaging lead which makes the reader want to continue reading?
    • Does your editorial have a clearly stated opinion toward the beginning of the article which continues throughout?
    • Does your editorial employ appropriate rhetorical devices to appeal to your target audience?
      • Ethos or the ethical appeal, means to convince an audience of the author’s credibility or character.
      • Pathos or the emotional appeal, means to persuade an audience by appealing to their emotions.
      • Logos or the appeal to logic, means to convince an audience by use of logic or reason.
    • Does your editorial contain sufficient background information that clearly establishes the the rhetorical situation you wish to address?
  • Development – 25%
    • Are your main points well supported with sufficient (but not excessive) use of evidence?
    • Does your editorial include at least 3 different reputable sources?
  • Style – 10%
    • Are the sentences well-worded and well-constructed? Should some sentences be combined for clarity? Should others be broken into two or more sentences, so ideas receive proper emphasis?
    • Do you implement a combination of quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing?
  • Grammar – 5%
    • Have you proofread your work for grammar and mechanical errors?
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