Editorials are written according to a well-established formula.
v Introduction - state the problem
v Body - expresses an opinion
v Solution - offers a solution to the problem
v Conclusion - emphasizes the main issue
Additional tips on structuring your opinion story:
v Lead with an Objective Explanation of the Issue/Controversy. Include the five W's and the H. Pull in facts and quotations from sources which are relevant.
v Present Your Opposition First. As the writer you disagree with these viewpoints. Identify the people (specifically who oppose you). Use facts and quotations to state objectively their opinions. Give a strong position of the opposition. You gain nothing in refuting a weak position.
v Directly Refute The Opposition's Beliefs. You can begin your article with transition. Pull in other facts and quotations from people who support your position. Concede a valid point of the opposition which will make you appear rational, one who has considered all the options.
v Give Other, Original Reasons/Analogies. In defense of your position, give reasons from strong to strongest order. Use a literary or cultural allusion that lends to your credibility and perceived intelligence.
v Conclude With Some Punch. Give solutions to the problem or challenge the reader to be informed.
Think of an opinion piece as a persuasive essay: the writer has an opinion or a point of view on an issue and he or she wants to convince the reader to agree. This is not as easy as it may seem.
1. You must research your topic and find out what’s happening and what went on in the past.
2. You must know the facts and be able to refer to them in your argument.
Pretend you are a lawyer and you are making a case before a jury. You will want to convince the members of the jury to believe that your client is right . Therefore you need to present as much evidence as you can that proves the point. You do the same when you write a column or editorial. Here’s an example:
Suppose you want to write an editorial supporting capital punishment. You want to convince your readers that someone who commits murder should receive a death sentence. The first thing you have to do is start collecting the facts.
o When did Canada put an end to capital punishment? What were the arguments used to do that?
o When did people start talking about re-introducing the death penalty?
o What cases have prompted debate on this issue? What examples can they find to support their argument for capital punishment?
You must also consider the other side of the argument.
o What would people who oppose the death penalty say?
o How would they respond to their points?
3. Start your editorial with a basic premise or theme.
4. Use facts and details to back up your opinion and help you make your case.
5. Leave your readers with a lasting impression -- a strong point that will make them consider your point of view.
6. Don’t preach to the reader. A good editorial will make readers take notice of the situation and form their own opinions on the issue.