Your assignment is to construct one Op/Ed (opinions/editorials). The purpose of an Op/Ed is to provide the reader with a concise argument in a brief amount of writing space. When looking at a typical newspaper story what can be found are articles written by journalists who use sources to provide as accurate and objective (and honest) a portrayal of what factually happened as possible. These articles are supposed to be objective, that is, they are not supposed to take a position, but rather, are intended to inform the reader of what happened. The reader then formulates his or her own opinion, consciously or subconsciously. Obviously, some of “journalism” is biased. That is not the concern of this assignment. This assignment is focused on you offering a well-constructed opinion.
The Op/Ed section of any major newspaper is different. It is the section where writers are allowed to be biased, subjective and opinionated. However, opinion pieces that are not well thought out, rational, or founded in some factual basis have more value because they are developed opinions that are realistic; as opposed to merely stating something one wishes was true or believed but has no basis of truth or reality. While it is important to read articles to know what has happened objectively, Op/Eds and other opinion pieces assist our understanding of matters and develop our multiple perceptions of an issue so that we become more informed. Thus, reading articles that state opinions you disagree with is as important as reading articles you do agree with.
Op/Eds are generally short. But, they are meant to be powerful. There should not be a wasted word. They are good exercises that train writers to be disciplined in how they construct sentences, paragraphs and thoughts. That is my intent and motive for assigning these essays for the semester; to have you develop your writing in a meaningful way.
Since you are going to need to know what you are talking about before you begin writing, ensure that you take advantage of the COC library resources for any research you might conduct. You should utilize the COC Library Online Databases to search for articles or publications assisting you in your understanding of the issues you choose to write on. However, keep in mind, there is no bibliography or works cited page. Rather, your writing must stand on its own merit. If you choose to embed data or quotes and cite within the Op/Ed, then that is fine. The username to access the COC databases is: student – The password to access the databases is: success. The choice of subject matter is left to each student to decide. Write about something that interests you. However, it must be related to a subject matter component of this class. It must have some political, social or cultural significance.
There are thousands of resources online at the COC Library. Make sure you utilize academic resources. Wikipedia is not an acceptable source for citation. However, you may use it for initial reference.
The Op/Ed shall not be more than 750 words. There are no exceptions to this. This is not a research paper, per se. But, you will have to conduct research because if you do not have an “informed” opinion, then your academic Op/Ed has little merit and value. The papers are to be single spaced with a double space break between paragraphs. I require one-inch margins, page numbers, if necessary, single spaced, a title and your name at the top of the page. The choice of topic is left to each student to decide. But, again, it must have some political, social or cultural significance. I am providing you with sample Op/Ed’s so that you may be familiar with format and focus.
OP/ED – students will be graded on presentation, subject matter analysis, content and organization as well as sentence structure, spelling and grammar. As instructed at the top of this assignment sheet, you are to turn in both a rough draft and a final draft. The final draft is the only draft that will be graded. To the best of my ability, I will review your rough drafts to ensure you have developed an adequate thesis statement and overall topic. If possible I will offer specific suggestions for improvements to grammar, sentence structure and overall organization.
The instructor reserves the right to use “Turnitin” for paper submissions. Turnitin checks submissions for content legitimacy.