How to of Column Writing 1 – The Point of View & the Voice


So, what is your response? You say it’s a man with a saxophone!! Well, that’s your OPINION! I say it’s a woman’s face! See, how even though we are looking at the same picture, we disagree on what we see inside the picture. This is because we come to our conclusion by bringing out to the table our unique perspective on our reality. Of course, you have heard it before, reality is subjective!! We often interpret the data on issues based on our preconceptions on how the world ought to be. It’s one of those “glass half full, glass half empty” kind of situations! Such biases come through most brilliantly in the form of opinion writing. And this is totally fine!!

Opinion pieces are composed of two elements:
  1. Point of View &
  2. Voice
Point of view is the writer’s perspective ingrained in their identity in print. It can be an attitude or a philosophy of thinking.
Examples of point-of-view writing can be found in political commentary, when one’s politics color personal opinion.  Example: Conservative or Liberal?
  • Personal bias is acceptable in column writing
  • Objectivity is not required
  • A columnist is not expected to give equal weight to both sides of an issue
  • However, in offering written bias, a columnist is obliged to support with facts
  • Project passion, but keep it fair with research and accuracy
  • It’s almost like  being a lawyer
The Voice is the writer’s personality of the printed page, the style with which the point of view is conveyed.
  • Voice allows the reader to see the world through the writer’s lens, creating a sense of intimacy.
  • “Voice is what makes a column good and personal” Kim Tan, The Boston Globe.
  • Example: Commentary wrapped with the sense of humor, a conversational style of writing
  • Voice is developed with practice. The more you write, the more your writing Voice get refined
  • Write about what excites you, that’s the best way to develop your own Voice

Next class we will discuss the structure of an opinion piece.


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