*please read all instructions -word count: 400-800-you can pick the issue to discuss OverviewIn a democracy, collective action and speaking out matter. Consider an issue that you care deeply about – one on which you have an opinion. It can be a social or political issue, a health issue, a current events-related issue, or anything else you feel passionate about that concerns the public. Write an op-ed piece on the social issue or problem about which you are passionate. You may pick any aspect of the issue that reflects your personal values, interests, or experiences.Learning GoalsFoster critical thinking about real-world issues related to personal values and concernsLearn about op-eds as a venue for engaging and transforming public debatePractice effective communication and persuasive writing skills for a public audienceGather and use evidence and reasoned arguments to support your opinions and call others to actionExamine how collective action can be used to transform a real world issueCommunicating with the Public through Op-ed’s”Op-ed” refers to the page of a traditional newspaper that is located “opposite to the editorial page” [commonly misinterpreted as, “opinion-editorial”]. It operates as a complement to the news organization’s own editorial positions. Though it originated with newspapers, “op-eds” appear now on blogs, news websites, and over-the-air, and online broadcasts.Op-ed’s are designed to be persuasive. The writer offers a unique, focused look at the subject, often using both logical and emotional appeals to persuade readers. They are personal, “first-person”, not “third person,” pieces of writing. Embrace your own personal experience and writing style and make your “personal voice” a “public voice.” Take seriously the challenge of adding something new to the public conversation, something you would like to have people read. An op-ed does not simply describe a situation; it is your opinion about how to improve matters. You need to offer concrete recommendations which use collective action to address the situation. How exactly should your state protect its environment, or the White House change its foreign policy, or parents choose healthier foods for their children? You need to do more than call for “more research” or suggest that opposing parties work out their differences.The best op-ed pieces are good pieces of writing — they are succinct, clear, informative, engaging and often moving or inspiring. As in all good writing, try to “show rather than tell” — e.g., by bringing in examples that will bring your argument to life.Some published examples:Bruni, F. (2017, Sept 2). The Real Campus Scourge – Loneliness The New York Times.pdf Finkelstein, J. (2013, December 23). Whose responsibility is it anyway? A new approach to fighting cyberbullying (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..Huffington Post. (This op-ed is by a student)Instructions for Writing your Op-EdConsider:Who is your target audience — UW first-year students, all students on campus, UW officials, members of a community, the world-at-large, etc.?What do they need to knowWhat are the compelling arguments that they will hear from youWhat information will help them see your pointWhat appeals will be most persuasive (personal story, case study, statistics, dollars, ethics, guilt, etc.)Write, including all of these required elements:Clearly stated opinion. Provide a single main idea that takes a stance. Ex: Despite efforts in recent years, the UW-Madison has not done enough to respond to the negative effects of climate change nor followed-through on adequate measures to reduce our campus’s “carbon footprint.”Be succinct. Focus your writing so the op-ed is between 400 and 800 words.Provide a “good lead” that grabs the reader’s attention. Have a strong first sentence. Ex: As a first generation American, I know the sacrifices my parents made to see that future generations in our family would have access to healthy and safe environments — are we at UW thinking about the health and safety of future generations of Badgers?”Acknowledge an opposing viewpoint — for you to refute. Ex: Officials with the UW’s Office of Sustainability claim they have gone “above and beyond” what similar campuses have done to address climate change – with programs like “We Conserve.”Use evidence — “hard facts”, including studies, statistics, statements by experts, etc. to support your position and back up your opinion. Ex: Even some of UW’s own scientists are not convinced that academia has done enough to adequately address the complexities that climate change can introduce to communities and their stakeholders.Conclude with a “call-to-action” that embodies how your vision of change could come about through collective action. Ex: In addition to your individual efforts to recycle, conserve, and live sustainably, I urge you to contact campus officials and hold them accountable for more improved efforts to save our planet!Quick Tips for an Effective, Well-Written Op-EdBe passionate and hold a wide perspective on the issueState your own opinion but make it relevant to a larger audience — tell readers why they should carePut your main point on top, don’t build to it — state it earlyBe succinct, get right to your pointsUse accessible languageEstablish the urgency or importance of the issueUse short sentences and paragraphs to encourage readers to keep reading. (If you read newspapers, you’ll notice this is the norm!)Use the personal, active voice.Don’t write: “It is hoped that (or “one would hope that”) the university will…”Do write: “I hope the university will…”Be respectful of differing positions — don’t use personal attacks or uncivil languageStart and end “with a bang”
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