Human Rights Issues
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. Your first step will be choosing a topic for your op-ed article. Make sure it bears some importance for your community, your interests, 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 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.