New York Times Student Editorial Contest
Goal: To submit to and be published in the New York Times as part of their second annual student editorial contest.
Assignment: To write two editorials of 450 or fewer words and submit one of them online by March 9 7 AM EDT (4 AM MST—In other words, you must submit by Sunday evening, March 8). Your hard copies and drafts of both pieces are due to me March 9 or 10 depending on section.
Steps and resources:
1. Identify topics or issues you care about, have opinions about, areas you would like to change, either in the larger world or closer to home. Think about areas of life, culture, gender, education, music, film you would change, controversies on which you have opinions, things you find yourself discussing or arguing with friends or family.
Read 301 Prompts for Argumentative Writing for ideas about the kinds of topics that make for good persuasive writing: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/05/301-prompts-for-argumentative-writing/
2. Using one of these topics or one of your own, decide where you stand on the issue. Make two lists, one of reasons or arguments in favor of your opinion and a second list of opposing arguments (see handout).
3. Look for evidence on both sides of your opinion. Read the New York Times for examples of editorials. Read the winning essays from last year’s contest. Use the search function of nytimes.com to locate articles related to a topic that interests you. Contest rules specify that you MUST use AT LEAST one New York Times source in your editorial. Also, google other reliable websites with useful information. AT LEAST ONE OTHER source must come from outside the New York Times (see contest rules here): http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/04/our-second-annual-student-editorial-contest-write-about-an-issue-that-matters-to-you/
4. Write two editorials. In the first take the position opposite to the one you believe. This exercise forces you to take seriously opposing arguments and will allow you to create stronger counter-arguments.
5. Write your second editorial using your true position. Incorporate facts and expert opinion from your two sources, being sure to cite them accurately. Take a firm stand, argue against any strong points an opponent might make, and be as persuasive as you can in the space allotted.
6. There will be class time for research, writing, peer review, and revision, but much of the research and writing will need to be done on your own, using the resources and methods outlined in the various handouts on The Learning Network. Stay focused, stay on schedule, and good luck.