- Time Frame: 2.5 or 3 hours. Longer time for more participants.
- Suggested number of participants: 6-18
- Materials needed: Blank thank you notecards [do I include worksheets here?]
- Room Setup: tables of 4-6
It’s easier than ever to enter the public conversation through a variety of forums such as Facebook, tweets and tirades at your local bar. Still, a well-crafted opinion piece holds sway. If you have the skills, discipline, rigor and leadership to put your ideas out into this more formal public conversation, you can share your viewpoint with thousands or even millions of influential people. This workshop will introduce you to the art of the op-ed, get you started on your very own op-ed and offer ideas on where you can pitch your finished piece. We bring in experts, including editors from major Twin Cities media, to help.
- What is the value of a community and network for leadership?
- Who is in your network? How are you connected to them? Why do you value these relationships?
- What skills/competencies/perspectives are you interested in developing, and who can help you do so?
- How do you keep connected and be of help to people in your community and network?
|Facilitator Outcomes||Participants will be able to:|
||Describe why relationships matter for leadership, careers, and impact and express understanding that generosity in relationships is helpful in this work.|
||Visualize their own key relationships and networks and recognize important connections, missing links, and useful patterns.|
||Articulate skills/capacities they would like to develop and identify potential people who could be mentors for developing these skills/capacities.|
||Discuss ways to keep vibrant network connections and use the tool of writing a thank you note.|
||Recognize that they have many things to offer others in their networks and community and practice doing so.|
||Propose an action step or two to improve network relationships.|
|1:30 – 2:00||Introductions & Icebreakers
|2:00 – 2:30||Connecting the Dots of Your Cultural Background
|3:00-3:50||Case Study: Why Diversity Can Lead to Better Ideas|
|4:10-4:30||Reflection & Integration
Ask students to share what actions steps they will be taking.
We recommend sending out the pre-workshop email one-week before and a short follow-up two days before the workshop. This workshop does not require any pre-work before the workshop, but you could include a link to a TED Talk to help prime students for the workshop experience.
Here’s an example:
Dear Workshop Participants:
There is no pre-work required for this workshop. You will need a pen. If you do have 18 minutes to spare, we recommend watching this TED Talk, “The danger of a single story” before the workshop.
We look forward to meeting with you soon,
We recommend sending out the post-workshop email within a day or two of the completion of the workshop, to remind participants of any actions they planned to take on going forward, and to get feedback while experience is still fresh. For this workshop, .
Here’s an example:
Dear Workshop Participants:
If not, what did you hope to learn that you would like to see in a future workshop?
What were the most valuable take-aways?
Do you have a better understanding of the value of a good opinion column?
Do you now feel confident enough to write and submit one?
Please use this space to offer any other feedback you feel would be useful for the facilitators and for future workshops.
Gamson, W. A., & Modigliani, A. (1989). Media discourse and public opinion on nuclear power: A constructionist approach. American journal of sociology, 95(1), 1-37.
Golan, G., & Wanta, W. (2004). Guest columns add diversity to NY Times’ op-ed pages. Newspaper Research Journal, 25(2), 70-82.
Nelson, T., & Kinder, D. (1996). Issue Frames and Group-Centrism in American Public Opinion. The Journal of Politics,58(4), 1055-1078. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.ezp2.lib.umn.edu/stable/2960149
Hoffman, L. H., & Slater, M. D. (2007). Evaluating Public Discourse in Newspaper Opinion Articles: Values-Framing and Integrative Complexity in Substance and Health Policy Issues. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 84(1), 58–74.
Thomas Friedman Explains How to Write an Op-Ed
Best selling author and journalist Thomas Friedman explains the purpose and key elements of an effective op-ed.
Getting Published in the News Media
A Harvard University panel discussion on how University researchers can increase their impact by writing effective opinion pieces.
A History of the art on the New York Times Op-Ed page
The world’s most famous op-ed page has framed the world’s biggest stories with both words and pictures, and is instructive in terms of how readers learn to think about issues.
The Union of Concerned Scientists
Find opinion writing and submission tips specifically for scientific researchers.
Duke University Communicator Tool Kit
How to write an op-ed, and a variety of other tools for academics doing public writing.