Part one of your paper is the research-based section. Explain the current event about which you’re writing. Give the reader as much background as you feel is necessary. Take care to spend sufficient time writing about points related to your current event which you will later reference in the op-ed section of your paper. Speaking of…
Part two of your paper is the opinion-based section. In this section, you will be essentially analyzing and reacting to the current event, particularly reacting to the specific aspects of your current event that you wrote about in the first section of your paper. It is critical that you take a clear position in this section of your paper, and that you back up your position with the well-integrated source material.
Really, for this paper, you can consider yourself a participant in two rhetorical situations. First, assume the role of a journalist. Never mind that (presumably) you have no journalism training. What does a reporter’s audience expect from the kind of writing produced by a person in that professional capacity? You should be unbiased, informative, clear, and detailed. Your audience expects you to be well-informed, too, so wield your source material wisely.
Next, for the second half of your paper, assume the role of the editorial writer. Again, consider your audience, and what they likely expect of your work, and consider the differences between the objective reporter and the subjective editorial writer. In this section of your paper, you should still be informative, but you should also be biased, and principled in your bias. You should aim to be persuasive too, and your best resource to achieve this ethos is, again, your source material.
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