What’s happening in the news today? And what do you think about it? As global citizens, we ask and answer these questions every day, and as consumers of information and ideas, we need to be able to be able to articulate our own educated ideas about current events.
Learning how to take a stand is an important first step in learning effective argumentation—a goal for this course. This assignment asks you to settle on a position and articulate that position in a concise way. In doing so, you will learn some of the rudimentary components of making claims and supporting those claims with evidence—a skill you will use routinely here at college but also in the world beyond.
Overview of Requirements
• Final draft: 3 full pages, double-spaced.
• Must include Works Cited page.
• Use in-text citations as needed in MLA format to document your article in the letter you write.
Step 1: Obtain an newspaper article.
For this assignment, you will need to first identify a newspaper article on a topic of interest to you. There are links in the Writing Project 4 folder to many online newspapers you can read. Find an article about a current event topic. The article must have been published within the last 3 weeks. Aim for an article that is multiple paragraphs long; if your article is too short, you will struggle to complete this assignment.
This is the link of the article I have chosen.
Step 2: Read the article—more than once.
These letters are written by readers who want to bring to the attention of the readers an issue that is important to them and that may impact others. After you read an article, ask yourself questions.
First consider the topic being presented:
• What opinions are expressed in the article?
• What ideas do you agree with? Why?
• What do you disagree with? Why?
• How do the ideas in the article relate to your personal experience, morals, or political beliefs?
Then, think about how the information is presented, how the article is written:
• Are there any inconsistencies or biases in the way the author presents the ideas?
• Do you have any commentary on the organization or sources contained in the article?
Step 3: Identify your purpose and approach.
After you have brainstormed some ideas, consider whether you want to write a letter that is focused on:
• Expressing an opinion about the topic of the article
• Expressing an opinion about the way the article was written
Step 4: Write your rough draft.
Once you have read an article carefully, you will respond with your own opinion in the form of a letter to the editor. Your purpose in this letter is to provide a focused response, support it with evidence, and explain it. Your letter to the editor should be 3 full pages long, double-spaced and adhere to the format for a business letter.
Your letter should:
1. Begin with an address: To the Editor or Dear Editor or Dear Editor of NY Times
2. Have an opening paragraph in which you reference the date, article title, and author of the article in your first line so that the editor knows what you are referring to. This is similar to when you wrote your summary in writing project 2.
3. Have a clear statement (similar to a thesis statement sentence) in the introduction paragraph in which you clearly stating the main point you are going to make in response to the article.
4. Organize your letter into separate paragraphs that focus on presenting your reasons and examples to support your thesis. Have 2-4 examples to support that overall point. This could include personal experience, opinion, and evidence from other sources.
5. Be sure that each paragraph has a clear topic sentence followed by supporting sentences with details and examples. Use transitional words and phrases to connect ideas and points.
6. Have a concluding paragraph, which sometimes offers a call to action or a statement of how this issue will affect others.
7. Sign with your name, date and city, and your credentials indicating what makes you a credible source.
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