Basic Op-Ed Structure

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(THIS IS NOT A RULE! – JUST ONE WAY OF APPROACHING IT.)

Lede (Around a news hook)

Thesis (Statement of argument – either explicit or implied)

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)