Opinion Journalism Advice

Have students turn to the editorial page of the newspaper. Point out an
editorial, editorial cartoon, letter to the editor, opinion column and op-ed

  1. Have students select an editorial to read.

Read the following examples of Opinion Journalism

Emer McLysath, The Irish Times

Seamus O’ Reilly, Irish Examiner

Neil O’ Riordan, The Irish Sun

Jenny Friel, Irish Daily Mail

Elyssa Thornhill, Colaiste an Chraoibhín. Winner of 2023 Press Pass Opinion Journalism award

Look for and point out for the following editorial elements:
Introduction – the journalist should briefly establish the topic
Body – the facts and details relevant to the topic should be presented next
Conclusion – the writer’s opinion follows

  1. Have students locate and discuss other examples of opinion writing, such as
    personal columns and reviews of movies or restaurants.

Writing an opinion piece

(with thanks to Pulitzer Centre for the following advice)

If you have something important to say on any hot or controversial topic, one of the best ways to gain credible visibility and recognition for your ideas is to develop a strongly focused opinion piece, known in the newspaper trade as an “op-ed”.

It is easier said than done.

Your fiery opinion, supported by facts, can make your case. An op-ed is not an essay, something that unrolls slowly like a carpet, building momentum to some point or conclusion. It is the opposite.

In an op-ed for either your blog or as a guest editorial in a newspaper, the rules are the same: You essentially state your conclusion first.

You make your strongest point up front, and then spend the rest of the op-ed making your argument, back-filling with the facts.

Done right, it is persuasive writing at its best.

Over to you! Try your hand at writing an Opinion Piece

Here’s a checklist to keep your opinion piece on track:

Focus tightly on one issue or idea — in your first paragraph. Be brief.

Express your opinion, and then base it on factual, researched or first-hand information.

Be timely, controversial, but not outrageous. Be the voice of reason.

Be personal and conversational; it can help you make your point. No one likes a stuffed shirt.

Be humorous, provided that your topic lends itself to humor. Irony can also be effective.

Have a clear editorial viewpoint – come down hard on one side of the issue. Don’t equivocate.

Provide insight, understanding: educate your reader without being preachy.

Near the end, clearly re-state your position and issue a call to action. Don’t philosophize.

Have verve, and “fire in the gut” indignation to accompany your logical analysis.

Don’t ramble or let your op-ed unfold slowly, as in an essay.

Use clear, powerful, direct language.

Emphasize active verbs, forget adjectives and adverbs, which only weaken writing.

Avoid clichés and jargon.

Appeal to the average reader. Clarity is paramount.

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