A03: Editorial

Editorial on a Specific Timely Topic

Continuing the serious business of the course, I’m assigning you another very specific type of persuasive writing, the Editorial.

Again, I am not trying to turn you into journalists. If I were, I would start by asking you to cover school board meetings and come back with boring factual reports. For this assignment, you won’t be doing any reporting or news gathering. Instead, you get to be the voice of the newspaper—which sounds very much like the voice of God—without any training whatsoever. We’re studying this writing style for its persuasiveness and its impersonality.

To begin, carefully read the news stories you have selected to be the primary sources for your own piece of persuasive writing. Notice your source material very likely makes references to speeches, acts of Congress, scientific studies, news reports, government documents, articles from other papers, or current news topics that have probably been covered in the New York Times. Click the links if they’re provided, or search for additional material you’ll want to read to be conversant with your topic before you write your editorial. There’s nothing more embarrassing than using the voice of God to say stuff that’s downright silly or uninformed.


1. Write an editorial for an unnamed newspaper with a very specific thesis on any current news story. You can use an article regarding the recent security breach of the White House as your primary source; or one about the efforts to contain ebola in Africa (or the recent first case of ebola to appear in the United States); or an article about the developing public protests of Chinese citizens in Beijing; or any recent story on a new story of substance that deserves coverage in an editorial.

Your editorial will adopt the tone and formality level of the editorials published every day in the Times. It will not use the first person singular under any circumstances. If it must use the first person plural, the “we” will be understood to mean “we humans” or “we Americans.” But the first person, even in the plural, is rare. Avoid referring to yourself at all if possible.

3. Your successful editorial will draw support from a number of sources, not only the provided materials. Use casual citation in your editorial, but hyperlink a word or phrase in your work to the source materials so we can read your work and your source side by side.

Your editorial will include these essential components

  • It will identify either a meaningful problem or social condition that could have serious consequences if not addressed, or a chance to seize a rare opportunity to get things right
  • It will offer evidence to persuade readers of its importance
  • It will address alternatives to address the problem or ways to achieve the goal
  • It will make at least one clear and specific recommendation or solution

5. Depending on your section, your post is due before class MON or TUE.

Title your essay: Editorial—Your Name

Post your essay to the A03: Editorial category.

8. Early Feedback
As always, if you post early and I have the time, I will provide early feedback you can use to improve your draft before receiving your first grade. I cannot promise I’ll have time, but when I do, I heartily enjoy helping any way I can.


  • MW Section: DUE SUN OCT 05, 2014 before midnight.
  • TR Section: DUE MON OCT 06, 2014 before midnight.
  • This assignment will be graded on the basis of what it is, your best first draft of a continuing assignment. The grade it earns will remain in your grade report all semester, but in the 25% category.
  • Customary late penalties. (0-24 hours 10%) (24-48 hours 20%) (48+ hours, 0 grade)

About davidbdale

Inventor of and sole practitioner of 299-word Very Short Novels. www.davidbdale.wordpress.com
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