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.
Perhaps the most democratic form of journalism, the op-ed is founded on the idea that every person has a voice worthy of a public platform. Each one of you has a particular and personal vantage point from which to offer your wisdom. What change would you like to see in the world? In your country? In your community? From climate change to local politics to your school’s culture, we want to hear your opinion about something that matters… to you.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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 illustrates 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.
Who is Eligible?
- 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.
Young writers ages 13-18
600 – 1,000 words
About the Journalism Education Association
We’re thrilled to partner with JEA
, the largest scholastic journalism organization for teachers and advisers. JEA offers national certification for teaching high school journalism. They also publish print and online resources on the latest trends in journalism education and provide avenues for virtual discussion among teachers to promote best practices. JEA monitors and actively defends First Amendment and scholastic press rights issues across the country.
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 12th and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals.
March 5: Competition Opens
March 12: Submit draft for Expert Review (Optional. We will review the first 100 drafts submitted.)
March 16: Reviews returned to Writers
March 20: Final Submissions Due
March 30: Winners Announced
Our Poetry and Spoken Word Competition opens Monday, April 2nd.
Stay tuned for more details!