Length: 800 words (Opinion piece), and 500–800 words (Rationale)
Title: Opinion essay (Op-Ed) and Rationale
Expectations: Opinion piece
Non-profit organization: Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby
You will write an opinion essay based on the guidelines presented in the readings. Basically, this will be an informative and persuasive magazine or newsletter essay. Note also that you should have read hundreds of these over your lifetime and you should be a regular consumer of Op-Ed essays if you choose this option. As professional communicators you should regularly read such content.
The essay must examine an issue that is being promoted by your chosen non-profit organisation and target a newspaper or magazine (print or online mass media outlet) that will reach the target audience in the media plan for your organisation. You should tie the issue into something covered already in the media. Note: Social Media is not appropriate for this assignment, social media sites do put publish original op-ed essays except when they are republishing them from actual media outlets. You should explain your choice of outlet in the rationale.
The opinion essay is written as an actual timely response to an issue from the leader of your chosen organization. Thus, you must write it in their “voice.” Their name will appear under the Op-Ed essay.
Explain the rationale behind your decisions in writing your opinion piece. Your rationale must include academic references to class readings only or content from your media outlet chosen such as past stories from their newspaper/magazine, etc. (not web sites or online sources) that inform your choices of opinion angle, target audience, topic, newspaper choice, writing style, etc.
In other words, the only support you should use for this assignment should come from the class readings and texts, and the media outlets you target for your individual assignments. Do not search for random support on the internet to justify the decisions you make. We are reading lots of information that does that already. Use only class texts and materials.
1.Make sure you have conducted copious research about your organization and
the topic so that your op/ed essay has the right tone for your organization and
speaks to an issue of importance.
2.No ”this,” “it,” “their,” contractions, etc. Use proper nouns and clear referents
whenever you write. Do not say “we” use your organization’s name. You want your name to appear in the newspaper, not “we” or a vague acronym.
An Opinion Piece
. What do you notice about the first sentence?
. What about the way the article unfolds?
. What is different to a media release?
An opinion piece
- Aim to appeal to intellect and to persuade.
- Know your audience well enough to find common ground.
- Set out your arguments and delineate the debate.
- Argue cause and effect; use analogies and examples.
Types of leads
- Look for the most interesting entry point in the story for the reader—you are not searching for a news angle as you would for a news story.
- Direct appeal—reach out directly to audience.
- Anecdotal—tell story that resonates with audience.
- Quotation—it must be very clear who the speaker is.
1.The lead—this reaches out directly to your audience with an anecdote, a comment. It can be informal—it does not have to include the news angle.
2.A “nub” paragraph—a summary of the main point you want to make, saying why the story matters (look at literacy example)
3.The body—a series of paragraphs that develop the sub-points in the story and support the main point you have set out in the nub paragraph; each paragraph will be about a different aspect of the argument but all contribute to the point. It is here that you mention what your client is doing to address the problem/issue.
4.A conclusion—a few paragraphs that echo the lead or restate the main point to give a feeling of closure.
- In a media release you must maintain an appearance of neutrality, it is written in the style of an objective news article.
- A letter to the editor or op-ed piece is overtly persuasive.
- It is also an appeal to the intellect so you must construct the argument using evidence.
Your opinion piece
- For this assignment, you are writing an opinion piece FOR your client.
- So it will be SIGNED by your client, your client’s name will appear in the publication as having written the opinion piece.
- You can still write in either the first or the third person, but remember you are writing in the “voice” of your client.
Evidence of research into the issue and into coverage of issue in the media：
Excellent research into media coverage of the issue. Used information effectively to promote your case. Included reference to article(s) or news coverage on the issue that have appeared in your target media outlet, enjoyable to read, etc.
Clear identification of the opinion point or topic that is of key interest to the non-profit client. Issues is newsworthy and timely：
Opinion clearly and forcefully presented. References made to where the topic appears in the news source that is being targeted or to a current news story in the media in general. Opinion relates to issue of major significance to your non-profit organisation and is strongly newsworthy.
Quality of expression in opinion essay AND rationale ：
Outstanding quality of expression. Excellent presentation of coherent and forceful opinions. Language appropriate for the targeted media outlet. Rationale shows clear and logical thinking, well-expressed, good support.
Explanation of decisions taken in writing, rationale, & quality of references
Outstanding and insightful content. Decisions made and succinctly explained. Wide ranging reading with excellent referencing.