Winners Announced

Op-Ed Competition 2019

opinion — Take a stand.

* This competition is now closed but you are more than 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?  This month, Write the World and the Journalism Education Association are giving you the floor.

The op-ed is founded on the idea that every person has a voice worthy of a public platform. What change would you like to see in the world? In your country? In your community? From your school’s elections to your country’s leaders to climate change; we want to hear your opinion about something that matters . . . to you.  
Guiding Ideas
  • 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 response. But before you consider what other people think, carefully contemplate your chosen topic and jot down any ideas that come to mind, as well as any emotions that surface.
  • 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? Exploring the root of your opinion demonstrates to your readers that you have thought deeply about the issues at hand.
  • 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.
  • WELCOME 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.
  • 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 states your central argument
  • 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.
  • 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 supports your opinion, while also explaining (or showing through examples) how this topic impacts people on a broader scale. 
  • GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE: Don’t forget to cite 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.

Who is Eligible?   
Young writers ages 13-18   
600 – 1,000 words 
Guest Judge 
Dr Anita Heiss: Anita Heiss is a member of the Wiradjuri nation of central New South Wales, Australia. She is a writer, poet, activist, social commentator and academic. 
  • Best Entry: $100 (winning piece + author interview will be featured on Write the World’s website and blog)  
  • Runner up: $50  
  • Best Peer Review: $50 (reviewer interview will be featured on Write the World’s website and blog)  

What’s Different about Write the World Competitions?  
  • Prizes: The winning entrant(s) will receive $100, and the 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 by Monday, March 11th and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and education professionals.    

Key Dates  
  • March 4: Competition Opens   
  • March 11: Submit draft for Expert Review (Optional. We will review the first 100 drafts submitted.)       
  • March 15: Reviews returned to Writers   
  • March 19: Final Submissions Due 
  • March 29: Winners Announced   
Upcoming Competition     
Our Poetry and Spoken Word Competition opens Monday, April 1st. 
Stay tuned for more details!   

Due Dates
  • Mar 11 - Drafts due for expert review.

  • Mar 19 - Competition Deadline


​Meet the Winner of our Op-Ed Competition, Enok Choe!

April 23, 2019

How do you go about changing minds through writing? According to Enok Choe, winner of our Op-Ed Competition for The Danger of Ethnic Categorization at the U.S.-Mexico Border, the most essential step is curiosity sparked by empathy, followed by extensive research and fact checking. Our interview with Enok covers his thorough and thoughtful writing process and more, including the challenges of op-ed and his writing goals. 

Read Our Blog

Op-Ed Competition Winners Announced!

March 29, 2019

Op-ed writing gives us the chance to delve into an issue we’re passionate about and illuminate its importance for our readers. It’s a powerful genre—with new research revealing the op-ed really does change people’s minds. This month, we were honored to have writer, advocate and activist Dr. Anita Heiss as our guest judge. And today, after considering your compelling arguments, Dr. Heiss shares her picks for Best Entry, Runner Up and Best Peer Review! Read on for her commentary on these original works.

Read about the winners on our blog

Dr. Anita Heiss on How to Write a Powerful Opinion Piece

March 15, 2019

As writers, the op-ed provides the ideal platform to present something we’re passionate about and persuade others to see our point of view. But, with great power (of the pen, of course), comes great responsibility. When writing an op-ed, we must support our argument with research and facts to make a compelling case for our readers. Today, writer, activist and advocate–and this month’s guest judge–Dr. Anita Heiss joins us to share what she’s looking for in a strong Op-Ed Writing Competition entry. Read on for all of her invaluable advice.

Read More Here