Writing purpose: An Op-Ed is an essay submitted to a newspaper expressing the opinion of the writer. While they are opinion pieces, they rely on facts (citing by reference is adequate – formal source citations are not the norm, nor required). They often acknowledge and then refute the specific views of others. They can be quite lengthy – longer than a letter to the editor, but shorter than a feature article, for example. The best Op-Ed’s raise issues not otherwise addressed previously or provide unique evidence, ideas, or alternatives in support of a position.
The term Op-Ed derives from “Opposite the Editorial Page,” which is where these essays appear in print publications. Op-Eds allow the publication to present opinions beyond those of the editorial staff.
Structure: Generally, Op-Ed authors follow this format:
State a situation or status of a matter of some controversy or import.
Present the author’s view of the situation.
Explain why you have this view.
Discuss what you think should be done about this matter and/or issue.
Students should become familiar with this genre of the essay by reading the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other publications. The best way to understand the form is to read a lot of Op-Eds! Much of the learning value from this exercise is that you learn the form and read about numerous current issues.
The following link will offer additional guidance on the form of a successful Op-Ed:
https://www.smith.edu/about-smith/college-relations/news-office/op-ed-guidelines (Links to an external site.)
Submission guidelines and academic integrity: Your assignment should be submitted via Canvas to ensure compliance with academic integrity rules (e.g., Turnitin will be used). Be very careful not to plagiarize as you aggregate, synthesize and restate material, which is in the public domain.
Exceptional essays will present new “breaking” topics, reference insightful research and demonstrate the author’s knowledge of and passion for the topic. You may write about any aspect – regulation, intervention, role, viability, efficiency, etc. – of any market – financial, labor, assets, services, etc. As in all your work, the quality of your writing is important, as is having the appropriate tone and professionalism.
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