- Identify and understand the genre conventions of various public texts including content, structure, citations, style, design, and mechanics
- Analyze the construction of public texts using rhetorical concepts including purpose, audience, and genre
- Integrate a single text into your writing by summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting
- Engage with the ideas from a text by responding, interpreting, and analyzing
- Compose a text using the writing process by drafting, reviewing, collaborating, revising, and editing
For this assignment, you will create an op-ed article on an important topic as well as an infographic that makes a similar argument in a visual medium. Your op-ed article and the infographic should be able to work independently of each other but convey the same main argument.
OpEd, short for Opposite the Editorial, is a newspaper opinion piece from contributors not affiliated with the editorial board. Historically, it was published in a newspaper opposite the article written by the editorial board (hence the name, op-ed) and evolved as a genre that allowed people who are knowledgeable on a given topic to express their opinion and urge readers to take a stance or to take action. Sometimes, you might see articles in newspapers and magazines labeled “Opinion”: they follow the same genre conventions as op-ed articles.
For your op-ed article, you will first need to choose a topic related to social or human rights issues that is important for your community or for your current or future professional life. Your goal will be to sway your readers’ opinion on the topic and to persuade them to take certain action (e.g., support a specific public policy or adopt a new recycling practice) or adopt a certain point of view on the topic. To achieve that goal, you will need to use multiple persuasive strategies, from citing statistics, examples, and facts, to using stories and personal examples to appeal to your readers’ emotions. Keep in mind that op-ed articles typically do not rely on sources to the same extent as some other genres; limit your supporting sources to no more than 4 and make sure they come from credible, trustworthy publications and are free of false information, skewed facts, or strong bias. You can check your sources’ credibility following the suggestions in this guide
To quote the Oxford English Dictionary, an infographic is a “visual representation of information or data.” For your infographic, you will need to create a visual representation of the arguments you make in your op-ed piece, transforming them into a new mode. You can use pictures, icons, charts, graphs, and any other visual components to convey your arguments. You can also use text, but keep in mind that infographics are usually designed with minimum text and instead rely on visual clues to attract the audience’s attention and deliver the message in a convincing yet succinct way. You can learn more about infographics from this resourceLinks to an external site..
- Your first step will be choosing a topic for your op-ed article. Make sure it bears some importance for your community and/or your professional path, whether it’s your chosen major, the discipline where you plan to go, or the job you are currently holding. Make sure your topic is not too broad (e.g., “climate change” is a very broad topic, but “water management in Las Vegas in the time of climate change” is a lot more manageable) and not overused, in which case it might be difficult to find anything original to add to the existing debates.
- Define your audience and choose the venue for your op-ed piece: who are you trying to reach, and what would you like them to do as a result of reading your op-ed? Do you want people to take action or to change their opinion on the topic? Who are you trying to reach? Is it people who mostly share your views but might not be aware of some facts, or people who hold opposite opinions? What newspaper would you like to see your op-ed published in, and why? You can choose a major newspaper like The New York Times or a local paper like The Review Journal. Your topic and your audience will largely define your arguments.
- Consider different rhetorical strategies we’ve learned so far and look at examples of op-ed articles. Choose argumentative strategies best suited for your topic, your audience, and your goals. Do some research: how would you back up your arguments? What kind of evidence can you use?
- Your op-ed should have an engaging and informative title.
- The introductory paragraph should open with a “hook” to get your readers’ attention. You can cite a recent news story or a new scientific study, tell a personal story or a dramatic anecdote, use irony or show contradictions in public opinion, or reference popular culture. Your introduction should also give a preview of your main claim.
- The body of your article should develop your arguments in more detail and provide evidence for your claims.
- The concluding paragraph should connect your claims and urge the readers to action.
- Your infographic should reflect your main arguments, but do not try to include every claim or every detail. You can use free tools to create your infographic
Length: Your op-ed article should be within 700 – 1,100 words. The length of the infographic will vary depending on your topic and the quantity of images, but the text included should not exceed 200 words.
Genre: op-ed article and infographic
Audience: readers of the newspaper where your op-ed article might be published; your classmates, your instructor, and anybody interested in the topic
Research: 1-4 outside sources, popular and/or scholarly
Idea for article:
For writing project 2, I have been looking at a few topics for my op-ed article. One of the topics I find most interesting is police brutality when it comes to African American and brown people. The number of deaths and injuries caused by police to African Americans and brown people at the hand of the police is outrageous. My op-ed article would argue that there should be more mandatory training for equality when someone is trying to become a police officer. I would also argue that police officers tend to use more forceful tactics when dealing with people of color so I think they should have more extensive training on how to detain a person without having to use that type of force. This topic is very important to me because I have had a family member that has been a target of police brutality and it was very traumatizing for him. With me being an African American this topic is very important for my community. Over the last 10-year police brutality has been getting worse and there really haven’t been any laws or anything put in place to limit it. I would like my infographic published in a blog on social media. Social media is very prominent nowadays and it seems that where a lot of people go to get their daily news. I feel by publishing my article on a blog through social media will get a lot of attention and be seen by a lot of people. More specially I would like to see my article published on a popular Instagram-based media company called The Shade Room, The Shade room covers politics and focuses on Black culture news so I think it would get a lot of interaction being published there. The main audience for my article is The Department of Justice (DOJ), the state’s Governors, the police department, the African American and brown community, and anyone who cares or would like to know more information on my topic. In this article, I would use statistics and graphs to show the amount of police brutality and killings in the African American community compared to any other race. I haven’t found any credible and reliable sources, but I will be sure to have at least two as I do more extensive research on my chosen topic.
There are a number of claims you could make, about how readers should view this topic or even about an action you want to see taken.
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