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Journalism

   

                     
How to Write an Editorial /
              Editorial Pre-Writing Worksheet
 

The editorial is the official stance of the publication, generally decided by the editorial board. The most effective editorials are ones in which the possible stances are argued out and a position taken, after which the article is assigned to one staff member to write. When done this way, the results should be solid, responsible, well-thought out editorials. 


Purpose of an editorial:

    
 Primary:
to persuade! If you can't take a stand, you do not have a good editorial

 Secondary:
to inform and/or to entertain

 

How do editorials achieve their purpose?
 

They May Criticize or Attack: If they criticize, they require suggestions for change. If you launch an attack against something, you must be impeccable in your charge. An attack is forceful; criticism does not have to be forceful, but it has to be held down with facts and suggestions for change.

Defend: Stand up for an individual or an institution under attack by society.

Endorse: But you must give solid reasons for your endorsement of a political candidate, an issue, or the reasons behind building a new gymnasium.

Compliment: Show evidence that the compliment is deserved. Offer praise when warranted.

Instigate, advocate or appeal: To instigate editorially would mean that the newspaper intended to go on a crusade for something--improvements in the school study hall system, for example. Or you might advocate that this be accomplished by backing suggestions put out by a school committee that studied the problem. An appeal editorial might mean that youíd encourage  people to donate to a school fund drive or vote for a  tax levy increase.

Entertain: An entertaining editorial is good for the readerís soul, but it should have a worthwhile point and should be written about something worth the readerís time.

Predict: Support your predictions with fact.

 

Where Does the Editorial Writer Begin?
 

 Choose an issue

Your editorial could be about how the readers could help the environment, inform the public about a particular endangered species, praise an effort by a group who has helped to take an endangered animal off of the endangered species list, or any other idea that can be used as an editorial...first check with your teacher to make sure it is an acceptable article.

Research is an important step!
Do not share your ignorance!  Instead, use primary and secondary sources
 

 Gather Support

Gather as many details as possible to convince others that your position is the right one.  Present facts, evidence, written statements from reliable sources or authorities in the subject (experts). Make comparisons to similar situations that support your argument, pictures or images that strengthen your argument.
Present the opposing argument along with evidence that it is fallacious (based on faulty reasoning), weak, or simply not as strong, important, realistic, practical etc. as yours. 

 Connect support to purpose

Body should have clear and accurate details and examples that you specifically connect to your opinion.  Give strong arguments in the beginning and end of the editorial. Show the opposing arguments and their weaknesses. Offer a solution at the end. Be strong Ė do not waver in your convictions. Stick to your argument or opinion.


 General Information
 

Your editorial should be clear and forceful. Do not preach. Paragraphs should be brief and direct. Give examples and illustrations. Be honest and accurate. Don't be too dramatic.

Avoid moralizing editorials. They tend to preach and turn the reader off. Whatever type of editorial you write, it must be built around logical framework.


 

 Editorial Pre-Writing Worksheet

Our Opinion Can Change the World!

            Note: Pointing out whatís wrong is easier than contributing to a problemís solution Ė and a good editorialís concern should be to better a situation, not bludgeon it. Remember, also, no matter what your purpose or topic, an editorial is no place to indulge in personal attacks. Be smart! Donít whine or gripe Ė use your energy to convince! 

1. What is a problem/issue that our entire student body faces today?

 

  

2. What is your groupís view/position on the problem or situation?

 

   

3. What would you like to achieve with your editorial? (What is the desired result?)

  

  

4. How will you persuade your audience to adopt your viewpoint as theirs? List at least 4 persuasive points.

 

   

 

 

5. How will you arouse your readership to action in your conclusion? 

 

 

 

6. How will your editorial serve a public purpose?1

 

 

 

 

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