As part of the development of this blog, I will be adding commentary by guest bloggers who will offer a variety of opinions and perspectives on environmental issues. Note there is no one formula for a good Op-Ed; however, there are some guidelines that are useful to writing an excellent piece. I recommend the following:
- Make sure your piece is to the point (your main point should be at the beginning of the piece and is supported by your claims and arguments throughout), organized (e.g. a clear argument, facts to support your case, an acknowledgment of competing claims, etc.), and concise (e.g. no more than 750 words and very tightly constructed sentences and paragraphs, etc.).
- You want to make specific recommendations on your topic and make arguments to support them.
- Avoid jargon and tedious rebuttals while at the same time acknowledge your opponents’ arguments. Remember civility is a virtue.
- Make sure you give concrete examples that bring your argument to life for readers.
- Finish strong: Summarize your argument in a strong final paragraph so that casual readers who end up skimming the article can take away your overall premise.
Overall note: An Op-Ed is not something that can answer all points or questions in a particular argument. Yet, the benefit of writing a strong piece can help shape and define the discourse on a particular environmental problem.