Media/six types of opeds

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Six Types of Op-eds

by The Progressive Media Project



This is the most basic, or common, type of op-ed.

Policy X is bad. Here’s why.


Example: Yolanda Chavez Leyva on landlords and immigration enforcement

“Landlords should not serve as agents of the immigration service.”


Example:  Jenigh Garrett on citizens without ID losing health care, voting rights

“The same policies that are preventing poor and minority citizens from receiving health care benefits could also prevent many of them from voting.  This is wrong and it restricts democracy.”


Example:  David Love on affirmative action at U. of Michigan

“The University of Michigan’s recent decision to suspend affirmative action was a defeat for those who value diversity in higher education.”


Example:  David Moberg on the need for American worker unions

“In January, President Bush finally acknowledged a problem that many people have long recognized:  Economic inequality has been rising for more than a quarter century, and the average American worker in not sharing in the nation’s economic gains.”


Example:  Amina Mire on ending the crisis in Somalia

“The Bush administration should not be supporting an illegal Ethiopian invasion and occupation of Somalia.”



'2.      'FIRST-PERSON

The writer speaks from personal experience on an issue. Be careful, though. The piece needs to come to a point. Show how what happened to you makes the case for the policy change you advocate.


Example:  Mike Ervin on Medicare Part D’s coverage gap

            “My friend Barb has multiple sclerosis.  Last year, she signed up for prescription drug

            coverage under Medicare Part D, but she still had to pay so much of her own money for

            medication at the end of the year that she was broke.”


            Example:  Yolanda Chavez Leyva on making college affordable for students

            “Collage affordability is a big deal.  Just ask my students.  I teach at a university where

            75 percent of the students work to put themselves through school.”






            Example:  Steven Choi on Korean American invisibility

            “A few weeks have passed since Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, and

            many of us are still dealing with the shock, horror and grief.  As a Korean American, I

            see in this controversy signs for continuing concern – but also reasons for hope.”




Choose a current holiday, anniversary, birthday, or obituary of an important figure as a peg to talk about a current issue.


Example: Holiday: Norma Mena and Silvia Proano on labor conditions for flower workers

“This Mother’s Day, we hope you will consider the situation of the women who have worked to produce the beautiful roses that you buy.”


Example: Anniversary: Clarence Lusane on September 11

“This marks the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, and no amount of White House spin can hide the ugly truth of its mounting record of calamities.”


Example:  Anniversary:  Ed Morales on U.S. citizenship for Puerto Rico

“March 2 marks the 90th anniversary of the Jones Act, which conferred U.S. citizenship on all citizens of Puerto Rico.  This has been both a blessing and a curse.”


Example: Birthday: Andrea Lewis on Rosa Parks

“Today marks the 90th birthday of Rosa Parks, the mother of the civil-rights movement.”


Example: Observance:  Dr. Jennifer Mieres on women and heart disease

“February is American Heart Month, and it serves as an important reminder of the need to address the impact of heart disease on women.”


Example:  Commemorative:  Salim Muwakkil on honoring Frederick Douglass

“As Black History Month comes to a close, let’s take a moment to honor Frederick Douglass, the father of the civil rights movement and the most influential black American of the 19th century.”



'4.      ' SOLUTIONS

Choose a current topic, and sketch solutions to the problem. “Here’s how to solve the nation’s health crisis…”


Example:  Premilla Nadasen on funding Head Start

“The Bush administration must increase funding for Head Start and Early Head Start programs if it is serious about not leaving any child behind.”


Example:  Brian Gilmore on African American opposition to the Iraq War

“African Americans need to get more active in opposing the war in Iraq.”







Example:  Sarah Anderson on CEO pay

“Now that everyone from George Bush to Ralph Nader agrees that CEOs make too much money, it’s time to talk about what to do about it.”


Example:  Andrew Gunther on congress raising fuel economy standards

“Congress should act now to protect the environment, enhance national security and save consumers money.  It can do this when  legislators meet to reconcile House and Senate energy bills, if they require our cars and trucks to go farther on a gallon of gas.”





Use something in current pop culture to make a link to a social problem or issue.


            Example:  Jack Shaheen on image of U.S. Arabs, Muslims

            “Fox’s ‘24’ is giving a new twist to its old standby:  anti-Arab and anti-Muslim

            themes.  This time around, dark-complexioned Americans are the villains.”


Example: Mike Ervin on the representation of people with disabilities in   movies

“’The documentary ‘Murderball’ is more than just a great action-packed sports movie.”


Example:  Andrea Lewis on the NFL’s color barrier

“Super Bowl XLI has made history before it even begun.  No NFL team with an African-American head coach has ever squared off in the biggest sporting event of the year.  But this year, both Super Bowl teams are led by black head coaches.”


Example:  Juleyka Lantigua on encouraging Latino filmmaking

“This year’s Academy Awards could easily be called ‘The Latino Oscars.’  Latino filmmakers have been nominated across several categories, and that’s cause for celebration.  It’s also the perfect time to encourage more Latinos to get in front of, and behind, the camera.”




Use this format to educate people about an issue that’s not so well known.


Example: Rahul Mahajan on Iraq

“The recent Senate hearings on Iraq are a missed opportunity to explode four myths about Iraq.”


Example:  Joseph Cirincione on Iran’s nuclear capability (Washingon Post)

“Iran’s expanding nuclear program poses one of the Obama administration’s most vexing foreign policy challenges.  Fortunately the conditions for containing Tehran’s efforts may be better today than they have been in years …. [T]he prospects for developing a strategy with a solid change of success improve if we dispose of five persistent myths about Iran’s nuclear program.”