How to Write an Opinion Column for a Daily Newspaper

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Pen and paper

Writing an opinion piece or an op-ed (opposite the editorial page) is a challenge, however, with research and a flair to write, you can end up writing a fact-based and opinion-oriented article for a daily newspaper. Given below are a few important steps that you will find useful when writing an opinion piece. These tips are relevant for both print media writers and bloggers.

1.  You must have a flair to write to begin with

  • You should have a flair for writing and the passion to express your thoughts in words.
  • To develop the flair for writing, you should create and maintain a habit of reading books, novels, magazines, and newspapers.

2. Your article will have more value if you possess a good vocabulary

  • While reading books and print publications, you should also read a thesaurus to learn new words.
  • Keep a notebook with yourself to jot down new and difficult words you come across and write its similar meaning words. This will help you retain in mind words in the diary to use in your article.

3. Keep an eye on national and international events

  • Writing opinion pieces for daily newspapers requires you to know important national and international happenings, especially and specifically the ones that have occured in the last 7 to 14 days.
  • An opinion piece is about you presenting your opinion over an event of national or international importance, including and involving diplomatic affairs, bilateral relations, conflict resolution, security affairs, signing of an MoU between two countries, political tension giving way to a war-like situation or issues and concerns between two or more countries involving their foreign policy narratives and diplomatic missions.The best way to keep yourself updated with such events, moments and occurrences is to read the newspaper, both national and foreign, in print or online; read news via Google and by watching national and international news channels.

4. Conduct comprehensive research before writing

  • Researching upon the topic of your choice will give you enough facts to add in the article and present your opinion related to each fact.
  • Your sources for research will be the Internet, newspapers and news channels.

5. Write the article based on what you want to read

  • Keep the opinion piece interesting by adding in it all relevant facts that you as a reader would enjoy reading.
  • Make sure all facts and opinions are relevant and appropriate.

6. Do not induce your opinion but inform the readers with it

  • Good opinion columnists do not assert or induce their opinion over the readers but do inform it by backing with facts and figures
  • Try to keep a formal yet conversational tone while writing

7. Use direct and indirect quotes of key people having national and international importance

  • To add value to your article, do add direct and indirect quotes of key people having national and international importance who were part of the news. This will bring credibility to your article
  • These key people can be anyone from the government, politics, ministry, military or the bureaucracy who may be the decision makers, opposing the occurrence or having an influential importance.

8. Edit and proofread it thoroughly

  • There must be no error in spelling or in the mentioning of a fact in your article
    Edit it thoroughly while checking the rechecking spellings of all proper nouns and especially the accuracy of direct/indirect quotes, spelling of the name of people who said them and the sources from where you picked these quotes.

This article has also appeared at: www.wikihow.com/Write-an-Opinion-Column-for-a-Daily-Newspaper

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The beginning, middle, and end! – A short introduction

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Any short story, novella or novel must have a beginning, middle and an end. A beginning is a part where the author introduces the story to the readers. It is in this part where the characters are revealed, the setting and plot becomes evident and the theme is established. During the middle part of the story, the characters develop, entwine in the life of other characters and their own subplots emerge. During the middle, the author puts in the rising action and the conflict. This conflict creates tension in the plot as the protagonist and the antagonist and other supporting characters begin to evolve further. Also in the middle is the plot twist, which can bewilder the reader. By the end of the middle part, the conflict becomes thin and the protagonist resolves the conflict. The end of the story/novel shows how the conflict ends or in some cases, how another conflict begins that predicts the arrival of a sequel to the short story/novella/novel.

During the middle part of the story, the characters develop, entwine in the life of other characters and their own subplots emerge. During the middle, the author puts in the rising action and the conflict. This conflict creates tension in the plot as the protagonist and the antagonist and other supporting characters begin to evolve further. Also in the middle is the plot twist, which can bewilder the reader. By the end of the middle part, the conflict becomes thin and the protagonist resolves the conflict. The end of the story/novel shows how the conflict ends or in some cases, how another conflict begins that predicts the arrival of a sequel to the short story/novella/novel.

By the end of the middle part, the conflict becomes thin and the protagonist resolves the conflict. The end of the story/novel shows how the conflict ends or in some cases, how another conflict begins that predicts the arrival of a sequel to the short story/novella/novel.

The beginning, middle, and end of a short story/novel will be discussed in detail on this future in the future.

Which voice to use: Active or Passive?

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A long as we have been following the rules of grammar and tenses; we are divided upon the usage of active voice and the passive voice. Although the passive voice is often used in informal communication, it is advisable to use the active voice as much as possible and to avoid the passive voice as much as possible. The reason because a sentence written in an active voice seems more conversational and natural. Given are a few reasons why an active voice is a preferred grammatical voice. More differences will be discussed in future on this blog.

The subject must always perform an action:
The subject voice performs an action in the active voice.

For example:
Active voice sentence:
The girl is singing a song.
Here “girl” is the subject while “song” is the object. The message is clear and direct as it explicitly mentions who is doing what.

Passive Voice Sentence:
However, in the passive voice, the same sentence will become: The song is being sung by the girl. When a sentence begins with the object, the readers’ become confused as to who is performing the action as the subject, in the passive voice, appears by the end of the sentence.

Verbs must follow the subject:
In an active voice sentence, the verb appears soon after the subject.

For example:
The boy is watching television.
Here, the “boy’ is the subject while “watching” is the verb. The sentence is informing the readers that subject is doing something and the verb appears right after the subject.
Passive voice sentence:
However, when writing the same sentence in the passive voice, the sentence will become: The television is being watched by the boy. In this case, the reader’s will keep questioning what is the purpose of the television until they read that someone is watching it. Here again, the passive voice of the sentence is unclear and remains indirect in its narrative.

When writing articles, essay, write-ups or letters, it is imperative for you to write them in the active voice so the readers’ can read it in a smooth flow. Writing in active voice will also keep your writing clear and direct without creating any confusion over the subject’s action and the object’s presence.

Image Source: English Lessons with Adam – Learn English with Adam [engVid]

Want to become a better writer: Read!

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reading-a-book

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If writing lets you touch other’s soul, then reading allows you to touch yours. The habit of reading is that blessed pastime and passion that lets you travel in a world created by the author. Reading is life, that is what I always emphasize. Emerging and young writers often ask me the secrets of becoming a good writer. My reply to all of them is to read as much as you can. If practice makes a man perfect, then reading makes a writer perfect in expression and style, sentence structure, grammar and tense usage.

Your mind attunes with the author’s or writer’s expression and style, allowing you to understand which style you should follow. Although a writer or author’s signature style differentiates them from the rest, it is evident that during the early or rookie years, a writer’s expression is adapted from another writer. Over the years, and after writing much, the writer develops his/her own style that becomes the signature style.

To develop your writing skills and sentence structure, it is imperative for you to read the editorials and opinion articles of English-language newspapers. These two write-ups and especially the editorial are written with facts, sharing the writer’s opinion, by using clear and concise vocabulary discussing the topic in discussion with short sentences that stay focused over the topic. Reading opinion articles is also a must to improve your writing since such articles state the writer’s opinion over a topic in his/her own style, helping you to develop yours.

Reading daily news also lets you develop a sense of how to articulate your facts and messages in your write-up with minimal words and maximum impact. Similarly, to become a good writer reading books – fiction, non-fiction – is important. While reading, the mind subconsciously and more than often consciously retains certain words, sentences and the author’s expression that surface when you are writing, helping to use it in your writing for value addition. Moreover, reading gives your mind the wings to fly into the world of literature where the sentences and the author’s message become the foundation on which you can build your writing empire.

If you aim at becoming a good writer, then develop a habit of reading every book, magazine, newspaper, print and online publication you can get hold of. Reader’s Digest, TIME, and Foreign Policy are my personal favorite magazines for their articles are written with the perfect vocabulary whereby discussing maximum facts with minimum words. From Pakistan, the editorial and opinion articles along with international news of all leading English-language newspapers is a must.

Reading is a two-way tool. One, it lets you develop your writing style, broadens your mind with vivid imagination and facts, and second, it is a source of research. And as every writer’s goal is to write well-researched articles, therefore, reading becomes a writer’s best friend.

I hope these tips will help you become a good writer.

Take Care!