Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Op-ed style article: first example of op-ed (part 1)

Expressing opinion

Op-ed style article - is a newspaper or magazine article that expresses the opinion. It can be op-ed editorial (which are usually unsigned and written by editorial board member) or an article written by writer who usually do not belong to the newspaper's editorial board.

We can say that many of all country's major newspapers publish op-ed style articles that have tremendous impact on national and international politics and events, as well as provide insight into social, environmental and pop culture issues. For example, known and professional newspapers such as New York Times, The Guardian, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times or Boston Globe have their op-ed columns that raise spirited debates on a variety of topics. A lot of editors of newspapers use their publications as a forum to express their views and to try to influence the opinions of the readership. Also, it is known that a big number of editorials in major and smaller publications have even won Pulitzer Prizes for their excellence in writing and presenting the variety of opinions, views and outlooks.

Despite the fact, that commentaries or op-ed pieces can be written in free, your own, unique way (there can be serious writing tone or, if the writer want, filled with sarcasm or with humor), it is not easy to write it. A lot of editorial writers highlight, that one of the most important things of commentary is that it should concern a current issue that affects a particular people who support or reject it.

Comparing academic writing with editorials, the journalist of (2011) said that while the purpose of academic work is often to analyze a complex issue in depth, the goal of a think tank publication is to provide clear solutions for decision makers. Another opinionated articles writer C. Damewood compare news publications with editorials and emphasizes that unlike other parts of a news publication that are dedicated to providing balanced, unbiased accounts of newsworthy events, an op-ed article is meant to be biased, somewhat insightful and often includes persuasive writing techniques.

First example of op-ed article

One of my chosen op-ed articles is Umberto Eco: 'It's culture, not war, that cements European identity' by G. Riotta (The Guardian, 26 January 2012) [1] . This is an article in which the author reveal U. Eco attitude about European identity and his thoughts about what does it mean for Europeans to have European identity. First of all, this article can be considered as a great example of op-ed article because of its persuasive writing with original ideas. “The French, the Italians, the Germans, the Spanish and the English have spent centuries killing each other. Today, we've been at peace for 70 years and no one realizes how amazing that is any more. <...> The United States needed a civil war to unite properly. I hope that culture and the [European] market will do the same for us", his clear opinion stated U. Eco. It is, also, a great thing that the author tells the reader why he should care about the issue.

Furthermore, it is important that U. Eco represents a great diversity of perspectives and ideas, searches for answers and not concentrates into one argument. For example, he is trying to understand, what is the problem of weak European identity:  “<…> euro banknotes were designed without the usual faces of important men and women – instead, there were just frigid landscapes <...> Or does the problem [of European identity] go back to God - the fact that the United States becomes ever more religious as Europe becomes even less religious? “. Moreover, his clever words, statements and strong opinion are sometimes like facts and it is, also, a big reason, why his editorial is a great example. Some of professional op-ed articles writers even state that good editorial is that, where fact and opinion is mixed together.

One more reason, why this op-ed article is worth reading, is that it provides the reader clear and innovative recommendations. U. Eco offers a solution that European identity would be more profound, for example, „the Erasmus idea should be compulsory – not just for students, but also for taxi-drivers, plumbers and other workers“. The end of this editorial also is inspiring, encourage readers to think and to be more involved in respecting European identity.


You can continue reading about op-ed articles in the second part. 

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