Winners Announced

Op-ed Competition 2016

Opinion — Take a stand.

** This competition is now closed but you are still welcome to read through the published writing and blog posts.  **  

Do you ever feel like you have something to say but nowhere to say it? A worthy opinion that needs to be shared? A microphone on mute? 
This month, we’re giving you the floor. Each one of you has a particular and personal vantage point on the world from which to offer your wisdom. From global weather patterns to national politics to your school’s music culture, we want to hear your opinion about something that matters… to you.
Guiding Ideas
  1. MAKE IT PERSONAL: We want to know what you think. It’s always tempting to check out the research and opinions that are already out there before crafting your own. Before you even consider what other people think, carefully consider your chosen topic and jot down any ideas that come to mind, as well as any emotions that surface.
  2. INVESTIGATE YOUR OPINION: Why do you think what you think? Can you identify the people or experiences that have influenced you in forming this opinion? Your friends? Your family? School? The media or the culture in which you live?
  3. BACK UP YOUR IDEAS: Once you have a sense of what you want to say, start collecting evidence. Look at the existing research on your topic, find persuasive quotes from reputable sources, and/or identify experiences from your own life (or anecdotes from people you know) that demonstrate the validity of your perspective.
  4. WECOME CHANGE: As your knowledge deepens, your ideas will likely evolve. This is a good thing! Be open to your perspective becoming more complex and nuanced.
  5. TAKE A STAND: An op-ed is your chance to weigh in on a social, political, or cultural issue. Most essentially, an op-ed asserts an opinion. So be sure to include a clear thesis statement that unequivocally makes your central argument.
  6. CAPTIVATE YOUR READER: An opinion piece should be a riveting read. Make sure your writing is thoughtful, reflective and clearly structured. Think about starting the piece with a story or anecdote that hooks your reader. Make sure your argument is compelling and watertight from beginning to end.
  7. MAKE IT UNIVERSAL: As you share your opinion, keep in mind that your goal is to persuade your audience to listen up. Oftentimes, the most compelling op-eds are both personal and universal. Try sharing an experience from your life that illustrates your opinion, while also explaining (or showing through examples) how this topic impacts people on a broader scale. 
  8. GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE: Don’t forget to site your sources. 
** Check out the sample outline under “Resources” for more tips on how to write a stellar op-ed.

Forms of Persuasion

Some readers might be convinced by hard facts and statistics. Others might be persuaded by an emotional anecdote, or a story from your own life. Writing a compelling op-ed often requires looking at the topic from multiple angles—each perspective helping to solidify your argument, while convincing readers to listen up! Here are some different strategies to try out as you craft your argument. You might focus on two or three, or perhaps all forms of persuasion will come into play in your piece.
  •  Personal Experience: The writer describes an experience he or she has had.
  • Expert Opinion: The writer draws on the opinion of an expert—someone trained in a particular area, or someone who has relevant personal experience.
  • Example: The writer provides an example that supports a larger idea or pattern.
  • Analogy: The writer compares the situation to another similar situation.
  • Facts and Statistics: The writer uses facts or numbers to prove their idea. Often this information comes from other sources, such as books, newspapers, or websites.
  • Logic: The writer uses reasoning or logic to argue their point.
  • Emotion: The writer makes an emotional appeal to the reader.
400-1,000 words.   
Guest Judge   
Caty Green's real name is Catherine Green, which is now her byline and makes her very uncomfortable because it always sounds like she's in trouble with her mother. Caty didn't start in journalism until after graduating from college, when she pursued an editorial internship at her hometown's alt-weekly. She earned her master's at USC's journalism school, where she led as editor-in-chief of the university's student-run digital news site, collected freelance clips on and in the Los Angeles Times, and interned at Los Angeles Magazine. She joined the L.A. Times for a summer fellowship in 2013 reporting on clean technology, and then moved south to become engagement editor, and later deputy editor, of Voice of San Diego, an investigative news nonprofit. There, she edited and solicited op-eds, co-hosted the nonprofit's podcast, and managed social media and various outreach efforts, among other responsibilities. In September, Caty moved to Washington, D.C. to join The Atlantic's online side as assignment editor. She edits freelance stories, coordinates special projects, and hosts a web series centered on the 2016 election.
What’s Different about Write the World Competitions?   
Prizes: The winning entrant will receive $100, and the runner-up and best peer-reviewer will receive $50.   
Professional Recognition: The winning entry, plus the runner-up and best peer review, will be featured on our blog, with commentary from our guest judge.   
Expert Review: Submit your draft and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals.   



​Q&A with Harris Helberg, Winner of Best Peer Review in our Op-Ed Contest

September 13, 2016

When Harris Helberg received Guest Judge, Caty Green’s glowing feedback on his winning review, he just might have done a victory lap around his school in celebration. Caty noted that Harris’ review offered the “kind of support that ultimately helps a writer grow over the course of his or her career.” This, says Harris, highlights one of his core values—helping others. In our Q&A with the young editor, he elaborates on this mission and how the process of peer review has improved his own writing beyond measure.


Q&A with Op-Ed Winner Yeo Teng Wei

April 11, 2016

In his piece ‘The Soft Plea of the Music Student,’ Singaporean writer Yeo Teng Wei expresses dismay over the cancellation of his school’s advanced music curriculum. Teng Wei’s sincerity and clarity caught the eye of Guest Judge Catherine Green, Managing Editor at The Atlantic, earning him the top prize in our Op-Ed Competition. This week, we caught up with the passionate pianist to find out more about his love of music and his plans to continue fighting for the cancelled program. 


​Submitting an Op-Ed to Your Local Paper

April 5, 2016

This March, so many of you shared thought provoking Op-Ed Competition entries on a range of meaningful subjects. The results were moving and eye-opening. Now that the competition is over, we encourage you to share your work with as many people as possible! As such, we recommend submitting your Op-Ed entry to your local and/or school newspapers. There’s no reason your work shouldn’t live on outside of the Write the World community!

To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of handy tips to help you polish your piece and get it into hands of your newspaper’s editor.


​Op-Ed Winners Announced!

April 1, 2016

Our March Op-Ed Competition attracted some truly special entrants. Writers from all over the globe shared ideas about what matters to them most. We read essays about everything from mass incarceration to the benefits of football to the politics of organ donation. After taking a close look at these thought-provoking pieces, Guest Judge Caty Green has named the winners! Congrats to the following young writers and to all of you who participated—for taking a stand and speaking so passionately about topics that move and excite you.