Introduction to the Op-Ed

I have chosen to write an op-ed for my first experiment. I became interested in writing an op-ed because I often feel like I cannot share my own opinions in the academic writing that I do in college, especially as a Communications major. I also previously took a poetry course in which sharing feelings was encouraged, but I felt as if I had to obscure my own opinions for my work to be truly poetic. I am hoping to use an op-ed to more freely discuss my opinions in a manner that seems more natural. I also love to debate and back up my opinions with facts in formal settings, so an op-ed is a reasonable choice for my personality.

An op-ed is an opinion piece that is published in a newspaper, often alongside the newspaper’s editorial page, that is less than 750 words. It reflects the opinion of the writer on a particular topic, in which the writer often has experience.  It is conventional that the opinion of the writer also be supported by facts. The entire op-ed, including facts, must be accessible enough to the average newspaper reader, since an op-ed is meant to keep the conversation between a newspaper and its readers going. Thus, experts suggest that jargon should not be included to keep the piece accessible, but personal examples that solidify the argument are encouraged.

Neil Diamond’s op-ed written for The Los Angeles Timesis an especially interesting example. He fuses the personal with the political to argue that Congress should enact the Music Modernization Act. He draws on the personal effect that not being paid royalties for his pre-1972 recordings has on him and other artists to argue that denying recording artists royalties is unfair. He uses the personal to urge for a community change, which is very compelling. While I may not be able to use quite as personal of a story for my op-ed, I can draw from this example and utilize the power of the personal as well as facts in making my op-ed the best it can be. I am excited to write this op-ed!

Here are some links about how to write an op-ed:

How to Write an Op-Ed Article

Click on the photo for The New York Times guide to writing an op-ed.


One thought to “Introduction to the Op-Ed”

  1. Your comment about feeling like you had to obscure your own opinions in writing poetry really resonated with me. I feel the same way, in that there is a truth that non-fiction/ opinion pieces can reveal without all of the extra layers that fiction adds. I had never thought of my draw to non-fiction writing and reading in this way, and it gives me a lot of perspective, so thank you for that. I can’t wait to read your piece if you pursue this path!

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