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