You have spent all quarter researching, reflecting on, and writing about a specific topic. Now it is time to take all that you have learned and present it to your local community by publicly “joining the conversation.” For this assignment, your goal is to share your position on your topic with a target audience and a direct focus. To do so, you will prepare your writing for print publication in the style of an opinion article written toward your local newspaper. The opinion area of a newspaper provides the community voice and gives local residents the opportunity to express their concerns or positions on topics, particularly as those topics have local impact.
Readers of opinion articles want to grasp the issue you are presenting and understand your angle right away, and they want to connect with you personally as a neighbor or community member. You must make your point quickly and memorably, with an ultimate goal of convincing readers to agree with you, act in some way, and/or change their minds. This assignment challenges you to demonstrate that you can tailor your writing toward a specific audience with a specific focus.
In this assignment, you will continue writing about your ongoing research topic, but you will modify it to meet the various formatting and style needs of a typical opinion article for a local publication. This does not mean that you can just take a 2,000-word paper and cut off 1,000 words; instead, you must demonstrate that you have made careful choices to revise your more academic writing to fit another medium targeted toward a different audience.
This assignment requires you to:
- Determine a local publication to which you will write your Opinion Article. This is likely to be your hometown daily newspaper; however, you may also have a local alternative newspaper that you could use as your target publication. For example, in Asheville, NC, the daily newspaper is the Asheville Citizen Times (Links to an external site.), while the weekly alternative newspaper is the Mountain Xpress (Links to an external site.). Either choice would be viable for this assignment. While you are encouraged to submit your opinion article to the publication, this is not a requirement. For this assignment, simply prepare your article as if you are writing to a very direct audience: the editor and readers of a local publication. So your instructor knows your target audience, begin your article with the heading “Written toward [insert name of news publication here]:”
- Determine the style, tone, level of formality, etc. that is typical for that publication. Do this by reviewing and reading articles from the publication with particular attention to the Opinion/Editorial or Letter to the Editor sections.
- Analyze the target audience for the publication, and consider how their needs dictate the writing choices you will make. This means you need to consider the backgrounds, beliefs, values, etc. of the people who are in your town or community. Think of ways you can make connections with them in your writing.
- Write an Opinion Article of between 700 – 1000 words using the same topic you’ve been researching all quarter.
- Use APA format– it is likely that the publication you choose will not use APA format; however, since learning APA is a key component of this class, we will continue to use it here. If you do decide to submit for publication, be sure to consult publication guidelines and use the reference style specified.