….it just might exist

Writing an Op-Ed (due Friday, Feb. 27)

Op-Eds are written by local citizens, organization leaders, experts, or others who are knowledgeable about an issue. While letters to the editor usually respond to something written in the paper, the topic of an op-ed is the writer’s choice; of course, more relevant and timely op-eds are more likely to be published. While our objective is not to publish our Op-Eds in a local or national newspaper or magazine, we will aspire to write about our social issues in such a way that persuades our reader(s) to see our way.

Step 4 Guidelines

Follow the below guidelines as you write your Op-Ed. Your Op-Ed

  • must focus on a single social issue (the issue you have been researching)
  • must be no fewer than 500 words
  • must identify your reasons for writing an Op-Ed
  • must target a specific audience
  • must possess a clear objective/purpose
  • must possess facts/data on your chosen social issue (i.e. background information)
  • must possess no fewer than three distinct points to support your position
  • must be posted on your blog


Tips for writing your own Op-Ed:


Identify your reasons for writing an Op-Ed. Do you need to raise voter support for legislation? Are you trying to increase awareness of an issue? Understanding the reasons for writing the Op-Ed will help you hone the message and main points you should stress in the text.


Target your audience. Knowing your audience (policy makers, parents, youth, etc.) will help you decide which outlet to target.

The Ask

Now consider the objective of your Op-Ed. Your piece should provoke discussion, controversy, and response. What do you want your target audience to do?

Get it Together

Now with your objectives, target audience and purpose in mind, determine what background information is essential for the readers to understand if they are going to follow your argument. Develop a brief paragraph or two which explains this necessary background information.


Focus on one issue in your Op-Ed and one clear action. Support your conclusion with three key points. Devote one paragraph to each supporting point. This paragraph breakdown will help maintain your focus and aid in effective organization of the Op-Ed as a unified piece.


Identify and discuss the opposing side to your argument. Counter the opposing arguments with facts and point out other weaknesses in the opposing message. Explain why your position is stronger.


Your opening line should not make your reader turn the page. Importance should be placed on drawing the reader into the article and making the reader review the entire article. The article should end with a bang, not a yawn. Drive the point home and sum up the argument.

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