​Editorial Writing Assignment

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What policies should governments adopt to govern, shape, or improve the world of work? Each student will choose a policy initiative currently being debated or put forward by government, and will write an 800-word editorial that makes the case for or against that initiative. A list of suggested policies and more detailed guidelines for the assignment will be provided separately. See files attached.

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+ n n n Editorial Assignment: Essay Prep Tips n n n n Clearly identify the problem and the policy meant to address the problem Justify: Why is this an important problem to solve? Why should we care? Take a position: you are advocating for a particular approach and trying to convince the reader you are right Organize your discussion according to the structure laid out in the assignment Show that you understand the opposing viewpoint and give it a fair hearing Sources are needed to back up your claims n You can use a wide variety of sources – academic, primary/statistical, grey literature, news coverage – but critically assess the quality of info and the positionality of the authors Include a bibliography of all sources used Citations in an Editorial § Generally, editorials and op-eds don’t have in-text citations or footnotes, as in academic writing § However, you must still attribute the information you use in your editorial to your sources § Instead of typical citations, refer to the authors in your text like so: + § “According to a 2015 study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, child care has become less affordable in the last twenty years.” § ”York University sociologist Mark Thomas has recently argued that there is a crisis in employment standards enforcement in Ontario.” § Definitely use direct quotations from your sources, and use the above method to identify where the quotations come from. LS 1C03 Winter 2018 Editorial Writing Assignment Each student will write an editorial or “op ed” which takes a position on a government policy approach to solving a problem related to the quality, availability and organization of work and labour markets. Basic Guidelines | Each analysis should: • • • • Be 800 words in length Be type-written, double-spaced, and in 12-pt font Have a title page that includes the assignment title, your name and student number, the number and name of the course, the names of the professor and your teaching assistant, and the due date Be submitted electronically by March 2, 2018 at 11:59pm via Avenue to Learn List of Recommended Policies | Choose one of the following to write on: • • • • • • • • The raising of the minimum wage to $15 per hour The elimination of the (lower) student minimum wage from the Employment Standards Act The creation of a national public child care program The improvement of parental leave entitlements for both parents The extension of pay equity legislation to cover pay inequities according to ‘race’ The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement The elimination of tuition for post-secondary education Strengthening of workplace anti-harassment laws This list is not exhaustive. You may choose another policy instead of those listed here. However, please discuss this choice with your TA or the professor before proceeding. Evaluation | Your assignment will be evaluated using the following criteria: • • • • Accuracy in your description of the proposed policy and the problem it is meant to solve Ability to represent “the other side” of the policy debate fairly and accurately, but also to show why their reasons are flawed Ability to make and support an argument with evidence and logic Ability to express your thoughts clearly (through clear writing) and in a well-organized way Writing an Editorial or Op Ed | What is it? | An editorial is an article that presents the newspaper’s opinion on an issue. It reflects the majority vote of the editorial board, the governing body of the newspaper made up of editors and business managers. It is usually unsigned. An op ed is short for “opposite the editorial,” referring to the page of a newspaper opposite the paper’s unsigned editorials. It is usually (but not always) a guest commentary by someone with expert knowledge on or a stake in an issue. In both cases, the writer builds an argument to try to persuade readers to think the same way they do. The purpose is to influence public opinion, promote critical thinking and debate about key public issues, and sometimes cause people to take action on an issue. The Structure of Editorials | Feel free to use this structure to organize your editorial Introduction | The introduction should include an explanation of the issue or problem and its importance to the readers, a connection to a timely news angle (like a recent or upcoming event), and a brief statement of your thesis or main argument on the problem. Try to make this engaging. The Opposing Viewpoint | Discuss the opposing viewpoint first, quoting them and presenting their arguments. Present their strongest arguments, and even concede that they may have a point. Identify people or groups associated with these viewpoints. Refute the Opposing Viewpoint and Present Your Viewpoint | Using various kinds of evidence and logic, show why the opposing viewpoint is wrong and why your viewpoint is correct. Your position must be well-supported with research, evidence, data, quotations, etc. Present Your Solution | This is key: explain why your solution to the problem is a good one and how and why it will make concrete improvements. Conclusion | The conclusion should restate your overall argument, preferably in a punchy or memorable way, and make the case for the reader to do something. The Tone of Editorials | While an editorial takes a position, the tone should remain professional. Even though you may oppose others’ approach on the issue, you should be fair, and not engage in name calling or personal attacks. Stay focused on the issue. Editorials should also be accessible to a broad public. That means using language that can be widely understood, avoiding jargon or acronyms, using short, direct sentences, and illustrating more abstract ideas with concrete examples.
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