Public Opinion Piece

14 Nov

Public Opinion Piece
Introduction: For most of the last century, newspapers were the primary venues for public
conversations, in writing, regarding important issues in communities. These conversations took place
in Editorials, Op-Eds, and Letters to the Editors, which are all related genres that allowed in-house
writers, invited guest writers, and the general public to share their opinions about current events with
the wider audiences of those publications. In the 21st century, those important conversations are still
taking place in print newspapers, but they are increasingly also taking place, with much wider
readerships, in online venues such as popular blog sites and other online platforms through social
networking sites.
Because of their knowledge, those who contribute to the more insulated conversations of academic
publications are in a good position to share their insights with a wider audience, if they can reach
them. That is what you will do for this assignment—you will re-envision the work you’ve done leading
up to this point in order to fit a new, online audience. This may mean transforming your
Argumentative Researched Essay or may mean focusing on something tangentially related to it that
may be more appealing to an online audience. The resulting document should be an editorial that
might appear in a professional blog regarding a topic/argument that you are an “expert” on as a result
of your research to date. For example, one student who wrote about the problem of plastic waste in
our oceans for his ARE, focused on the issue of “ghost nets,” castaway fishing gear, and their impact
on wildlife in his POP, a concern that was too narrow to develop in depth in the ARE.
● Your Public Opinion Piece should be at least 4 pages long.
● It should be written for a particular audience, to have a particular impact. For example, that
could be a call to action, changing people’s minds, educating them, or maintaining solidarity.
● It should include a balance between text and visual elements. Cite any images you employ in a
style you’ve agreed on with your teacher (such as MLA), both in-text and in a Works Cited
page. Images should be thoughtfully chosen and integrated, adding something to the post.
(Note: you may also use embedded videos in the electronic version of your submission).
● You should do some preliminary research to identify a blog or two that might be relevant. Read
a couple of posts.
● Attached to the front of your public opinion piece, you should include a page of reflection (not
counted in the 4 page requirement) in which you analyze and evaluate what you were
attempting to do, who exactly your audience is, and how you are reaching that audience. The
more specific you are in that regard, the better.
Form: This assignment gives you some leeway to determine your form, but we will be looking at
several popular blogs, and discussing the conventions of blog posts to give you a sense of the form
your work should take. It will be important to adapt these guidelines for the needs of this class—
namely, your blog post must ultimately be turned in as a printed artifact in your portfolio, and so,
some formatting restrictions will have to be in place to make that possible. It’s your responsibility
that the print document looks good, that the visual and textual elements are integrated well with
each other.
Challenges: Doing well on this assignment requires an understanding of how academic conversations
relate to current events important to the public, an awareness of the level of knowledge a specialized
audience has on those subjects, and mindfulness of how the different media for publication should
shape the message you intend. For example, the student mentioned above had to bear in mind that
the audience of the blog he was writing for were experienced at fishing, just as he was. Therefore, he
had to alter his language and argument to take that into account. To get a sense of these differences,
I encourage you to read as many blog posts as you can.

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Posted by on November 14, 2016 in academic writing, Uncategorized



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