Time to write your ‘Topic Column 1’

For this assignment, you need to pick one story from the recent news and write your personal point of view about it. The topics can come from local, nation or international news. They can cover political news or social issues. Stories from sports or arts section that touch on social issues are also acceptable.The objective of these two columns is: publication in the Daily Cougar or the Houston Chronicle. The assignment is worth 10% of your final grade.

 The objective of these two columns is: publication in the Daily Cougar or the Houston Chronicle.

Suggestions on how to write a great piece:

  • Write a column that is timely — tied to news (emphasis on NEW) events and ongoing debate on the issue you researched.
  • Write your column on a unique angle of the topic you researched. Review recent newspaper publications on this issue (The Daily Cougar and the Houston Chronicle) to see what’s been covered recently. Find a different angle.
  • Give me a great lead (opening paragraph) where you lay out your “point of view/thesis”; follow up with 2-3 paragraphs that each presents one argument supported by data and facts; end your column with a conclusion paragraph where you restate your point of view (and leave your audience with a take-away message).
  • Write your piece with your audiences in mind (UH students or Houstonians that read the Chronicle). In order to determine the density and choice of your arguments and facts, consider how receptive your audiences might be to your thesis (point of view).
  • Limit the use of first person (“I,” “me,” “my,” “we,” “our”) to personal stories that you include in the column. The rest of the column should be in third person voice.
  • Don’t start your column with “I hate ____________ at UH” and then rant about the issue for the rest of the piece. You need to be thoughtful, build arguments and supply plenty of evidence that support your arguments.
  • Write in short sentences.
  • Limit your column to 500-700 words.
  • Submit your column on Blackboard. No printed (e-mailed) copies will be accepted!!).
  • Due Date: October 9th, by 12:00 p.m.
  • Have fun. Energy, humanity, and creativity are rewarded in this business.

This story is worth 100 points and it will be evaluated based on:

  1. The relevance and timeliness of the topic you choose to write on.
  2. The originality of your approach to tackling the issue from a NEW angle.
  3. How well your column engages your reader by evoking logos/ethos/pathos.
  4. Column organization and argument structure.
  5. Thoroughness 1, number of arguments used to support your thesis.
  6. Thoroughness 2, number of sources you use to support your argument.
  7. Relevance of the facts used in your story. How well the facts you use support your arguments.
  8. The quality, coherence and accuracy of your writing; whether you follow standard style; and, finally, whether your grammar and spelling are flawless.

*Please take the time to read and re-read your story before submitting it to me. Double check all your spelling, especially the spelling of proper names.


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