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“An article in which the writer expresses their personal opinion about a particular issue or item of news.”
Also known as “op-eds,” opinion pieces allow readers of publications to voice their opinions about recent events.
The opinion pieces that get published are usually written by freelancers and wannabe journalists, or those who have expertise in the topic they write about. They are designed to get noticed but you must write in a formal and professional manner. You must also show knowledge and understanding of the topic.
An opinion piece or "op-ed" give readers the opportunity to share their views and opinions with publications and their audiences. However, these are not like reviews you may see on popular shopping websites, they are informed articles written in a professional tone. When writing an op-ed you are asked to voice your opinion on a specific topic whilst giving evidence to back-up your claims. They give the public the opportunity to be heard and potentially enact change whilst informing and/or educating others through their opinions.
- Be timely – to make it more likely for your piece to be published write about current events. (Don’t write about a sporting event weeks after it happened)
- Be passionate – write about something you’re passionate about, make this come through when you write, but try to stay professional.
- Be knowledgeable – research! A piece that has strong, valid points which are backed up by reliable sources will be more likely to be published.
- Be complex – write about a complex topic, something with intricacies that you can explore in some depth.
If you were writing a real piece for a publication, you would need to look at their guidelines before you start writing. This will make you aware of how they want you to structure your op-ed, as well as making you familiar with the format. As an academic piece, you should just use some of the usual components as shown here:
Headline - Identify that this is an opinion piece, if a title is required make your position clear from the outset.
By-line - Make the ownership clear, add your name
Body - Your text. What is your opinion and what evidence do you have to back it up? Images may be used, but make sure they are relevant to your argument and help back up your claims. Sub-headings may also be used if you need to break up your points.
- Opinion pieces can sometimes be columned, but they are usually in a single column.
- Keep images at a reasonable size, therefore not using too much space.
Remember this is a professional piece of writing, so try to stay diplomatic and not get over-emotional. A strong writer will be able to show their passion through their knowledge and how they articulate themselves.
This is your opinion; you don’t need to compare it to others unless that is relevant to the topic and purpose. For example, you may write about a new political agenda and state why you agree with some of the opposition’s points, but not others. That said, always relate back to your point and make it obvious to begin with.
Don't be convoluted, you want to be clear and concise.
Don't make uninformed opinions. They may be incorrect and make your work less credible.
Don't be over emotional, try keep a professional tone.
Don't use irrelevant images that are only there for cosmetic purposes.