Assignment #3a: Op-Ed
An op-ed is a brief, persuasive essay targeting a general public audience, typically published in a newspaper (or online news outlet like Vox.com). For this assignment, please follow the format and language guidelines described in the Shipley reading, “And Now A Word from Op-Ed,” which is listed in the course readings. The submitted essay should be no longer than 750 words. If a student wishes to write an op-ed for submission to a specific major news outlet, such as The Denver Post, the submission guidelines for that outlet can be followed, but the assignment must indicate the targeted outlet clearly so that the instructor knows which guidelines are being followed. Regardless of the targeted outlet, the essay must be at least 650 words to receive full credit for the assignment. While actual submission to a newspaper or online outlet is encouraged, it is not required for the assignment.
The op-ed should present a clear and logical argument for or against the policy proposal under consideration (preferably the proposal you analyzed for Assignment 2). Provide support for your position using credible, persuasive evidence. You may address the proposal from any number of perspectives; your argument might focus on potential implications of the policy for a particular population, or could focus on one element of the “Triple Aim” of access, cost, and quality. In order to craft a compelling argument in the short space provided, you should focus on just one aspect of the policy—i.e., opioid addiction treatment is a sufficiently narrow topic, while addressing all mental health & behavioral health coverage might be too broad. Given the timing of the assignment, op-eds can be focused on persuading voters to vote a certain way, or could be tailored to inspire action once the election results are finalized.
APA-style is not expected for this assignment, but the regular rules of grammar and punctuation do apply. Furthermore, if you are drawing empirical findings or key ideas from other sources, you must refer to the source in the text of the op-ed, either by referring to it with words or by hyperlinking to the source. Footnotes, for instance, are not used in op-eds.
Although newspapers do not accept reference lists, for the purposes of the class assignment, you should submit a separate reference list (not included in the word count) that includes a reference for your identified policy and any other sources used. Remember, the sources should be clear within the text of the op-ed, too. (We’ll discuss this more in class.)
Grading criteria for op-ed:
- Op-Ed clearly explains the policy of interest, the population of interest, and why the issue is urgent for society
- Op-Ed clearly states a position, which is supported by logical arguments that lead to a persuasive conclusion
- Argument is well supported with relevant and current evidence, theory, and/or logic
- Composition, grammar, and submission specifications* described in Shipley Op-Ed are followed (*submission requirements for the Denver Post or another local newspaper may be followed, but the target publication must be identified)