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Write a 500 word Op. ed. on social class and inequality.
(a)“Social class is real in the United States.” These Op-Eds are typically built around the personal experience of the author, their family, and/or people they know. See the New York Times website on social class for several examples.
(b)“Widening economic inequality is a big problem in the United States.” This type of Op-Ed needs to be built on facts (the Domhoff reading has many) but must be written in a way that is readable, convincing, and often illustrated by either personal experience or that of others.
(c)“We should reduce economic inequality in the United States by passing the following law.” Here you would need to choose a public policy that would help reduce economic inequality and advocate convincingly for its effectiveness. Explain why it would reduce this current problem.
Remember, an Op-Ed is an opinion piece (named such because it is usually placed “opposite the editorials” in a publication) designed to offer an alternate position to what the media provides. Typically, an op-ed is written by an expert in a subject area or in industry. Generally, the goal of an op-ed is to educate the public on an issue. While the op-ed is largely an “opinion” piece, it must be based in fact and should be persuasive in style rather than a simple report. Take the time to edit, reedit and then reedit again. A clean, concise and compelling op-ed is your goal.
Answers to common questions on Op Eds
- Can it be longer than 500 words? Basically, no. Sure, it can be 515 words. But if its 600 words, the newspaper won’t print it or will cut it – chop part of your argument. Unlike many college papers, an Op Ed is an exercise in saying a lot in a minimum number of words!
- Do we need to have references? Do you see references in the newspaper? No. But newspapers do have “fact checkers” so if you refer to fact (for example “with unemployment at 4.5%”), it would be good to have a separate sheet at the end about the source of your key facts. If you include a page of “sources of facts” do not include it in the 500 word count.
- Can we quote other articles? In general, no. Newspaper articles often quote what some person said (e.g. “As Trump claimed,”) but no, you should not be copying a sentence from the text or from a website, or other printed material. This is YOUR article, not what has appeared elsewhere.
- This is just my opinion, correct? No, this is an article where you are trying to persuade others that your opinion is right. So you need some facts to back your opinion. The first of the three options for your Op Ed is one that can be based on your experiences and the experiences of people you know but these should be factual in the sense that they truly happened–and not made up. Don’t assert that something is true for everyone without evidence.