Basic Op-Ed Structure

… a core concept in Communication Skills and Atlas 109

WritingOp-edConcept description

This is the structure suggested in The Op-Ed Project, which notes that “This is not a rule! – just one way of approaching it.”

Lede (around a news hook) – See Ledes and News Hooks

Argument (based on evidence such as stats, news, reports from credible organizations, expert quotes, scholarship, history, first-hand experience)

  • 1st Point
    • evidence
    • evidence
    • conclusion
  • 2nd Point
    • evidence
    • evidence
    • conclusion
  • 3rd Point
    • evidence
    • evidence
    • conclusion

Note: In a simple, declarative op-ed (“policy X is bad; here’s why”), this may be straightforward. In a more complex commentary, the 3rd point may expand on the bigger picture – historical context, global/geographic picture, mythological underpinnings, etc. – or may offer an explanation for a mystery that underpins the argument – eg., why a bad policy continues, in spite of its failures.

To Be Sure paragraph (in which you pre-empt your potential critics by acknowledging any flaws in your argument, and address any obvious counter-arguments.)

Conclusion (often circling back to your lede)

Source

The Op-Ed Project, Basic Op-Ed Structure, at http://www.theopedproject.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=68&Itemid=80, accessed 25 January 2016.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last updated 20 August 2016.

Image: Slide 46 in http://www.slideshare.net/telleodran/editorial-and-oped-writing, accessed 25 January 2016.