College Fairs

College Fairs

Exploring Issues through OpEd

Explore the Issues: Editorials & Columns In order to become a “global citizen,” you must actually become aware of local, national and global issues. Your task will be to explore topics via opinion pieces. Within each topic you must identify an issue of interest and find a column or editorial. You have been provided a list of columnists, publications and categories from which to choose. This is not an exhaustive list.

Please ask if you search all of the options below and are still struggling. Please type your précis paragraph and attached the annotated column.

Label the topic and issue you’ve chosen at the top of your précis paragraph.

Example: Sports–Doping

Possible Columnists or Opinion Pages

  • David Ignatius, The Washington Post
  • George F. Will, The Washington Post
  • Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post
  • David Brooks, The New York Times
  • Maureen Dowd, The New York Times
  • Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post
  • Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated, NPR
  • Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post
  • Dave Barry, The Miami Hearld
  • Paul Krugman, The New York Times
  • Robert J. Samuelson, The Washington Post
  • The Boston Globe Opinion Page
  • Wired Magazine Opinion Page
  • The Week’s Opinion Page

Possible Topic Categories

• Issues of War (PTSD, Government Funding, Medal of Honor)

• Education (SAT scores, college applications, class sizes)

• Popular Culture (TV programming)

• Science and Technology (Apple vs. Samsung, )

• Politics and Partisanship (Presidential election, political gaffes, fact checking)

• Sports (Lance Armstrong, Doping,

• Science & Environment

Column #1-Annotations & Précis:__________________

Column #2-Annotations & Précis:__________________

Column #3-Annotations & Précis __________________


For each column, annotate directly on the column over the following:

  • Speaker-Remember it is not enough to simply name the speaker. What can you say about the speaker based on the evidence, the writing style, the topic etc.? What does the speaker value?
  • Occasion– Be certain to discuss and record both the larger occasion, that is, those issues or ideas that must have made the speaker think about this incident, as well as the immediate occasion, whatever made the author decided to focus on it in their writing.
  • Audience-To whom is this writing directed? It is not enough to say: “Anyone who reads it.” You will want to identify a certain audience by describing some of its characteristics. Be specific. The audience will rarely be “working adults.” Consider party affiliation, societal values, religious beliefs, etc.
  • Purpose- The purpose could be purely a personal one (i.e. to assuage guilt, to boast, etc.), but it also could be direct towards the audience, in which case you will have to decide what the message is and how the author wants this audience to respond.
  • Subject-What is the topic of the author’s writing. You should be able to identify this easily based on the writing’s focus.
  • Tone- Try to choose a description of the tone that fits the piece as a whole. You must also include specific words or phrases from the text and explain how they support your statement. Instead of using vague generalities like, “realistic” and “happy,” consider specific adjectives like, “pragmatic” and “complacent.”

Précis Paragraph

After you have completed these annotations, construct a précis paragraph for each editorial.

  • 1. The first sentence includes the name of the writer (usually including a descriptive phrase); the work’s genre, title, and date of publication; a rhetorically accurate verb (“asserts,” “argues,” “implies,” “posits,” etc., but not “writes” or “states”); and a that clause containing the major assertion (thesis statement) of the work.
  • 2. The second sentence provides an explanation of how the writer develops and/or supports the thesis, usually in chronological order.
  • 3. The third sentence includes a statement of the writer’s apparent purpose followed by an in order to phrase. It should assess what the writer wanted the audience to do or to feel as a result of reading the work.
  • 4. The fourth sentence describes the intended audience and/or the relationship the writer establishes with the audience. This sentence should consider how the language  of the work excludes or appeals to certain audiences. It may also report the writer’s tone.

Sample Précis

In 2005’s “Cheating is a National Problem,” the editorial staff of USA Today implies that the epidemic of cheating among students directly correlates to those examples set on a national level by business executives. Corrupt business practices are specifically highlighted via statistics from the Pew Research Center. USA Today’s piece suggests that cheating is a reflection of widespread deceitfulness in order to convince the audience that dishonesty is something learned in a larger setting than just the classroom. The audience consists of Americans worried about the moral decline of this country; the tone towards “cheaters” is one of warning and disdain.