Bret Stephens’s Suggestions for Op-Eds

New York Times’s Op-Ed writer Bret Stephens offers tips for aspiring Op-Ed that he’s learned over the years as an editor, op-ed writer and columnist.  He begins with this one:

“1) A wise editor once observed that the easiest decision a reader can make is to stop reading. This means that every sentence has to count in grabbing the reader’s attention, starting with the first. Get to the point: Why does your topic matter? Why should it matter today? And why should the reader care what you, of all people, have to say about it?”

These suggestions may be useful for writing Activity 5.7 Write an Op-Ed Argument on page 171 in Praxis 3e.

For 14 more tips, see Stephens’s essay at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/opinion/tips-for-aspiring-op-ed-writers.html?mcubz=0&_r=0

 

 

Read a Variety of Opinions, Not Just Those You Agree With

Supreme court hearingAnna Dubenko, in the New York Times, reminds us that, as critical thinkers, it is important to find well-respected voices on both the left and the right of any particular issue.  Because of  today’s fast-paced and divisive news cycle, that isn’t always easy.   So, she has provided links to recommended articles from both sides of current issues, as well as a few from the center:  Go to the article to read Dubenko’s complete rundown.

From the Right

• From National Review on the Supreme Court hearings: To smear Neil Gorsuch, the Left has created and attacked a straw man.”  [Remember that a straw man is a logical fallacy.  See the explanation in Praxis.]

• From The Weekly Standard on immigration:  “It is easier to decide who we don’t want here than who we do.”

• From The Federalist about the alt-right movement:  “You thought Bane was a movie character; turns out he’s a political avatar.”

From the Left:

• From Jacobin on the Supreme Court hearings:  “Originalist textualists are no less activist than their peers. They’re just less open about it.”

• From In These Times on the Trump administration:  “Heritage isn’t an appendage of the Trump administration’s radicalism. It’s the heart of it.”

From New Republic on Trump’s relationship with the media: “In declaring the media the ‘opposition party,’ Bannon may have actually done it a great favor.”

From the Center

From Lawfare on various judges who have offered responses to Trump’s immigration ban:  “Why are so many judges being so aggressive here?”

Some things to do/to discuss after reading the articles Dubenko suggests:

  • Why would one want to read editorials and articles written by credible writers you disagree with?
  • Pick another issue and find a conservative, a liberal, and a centrist opinion on that issue. Discuss the differences in their arguments.  Are the writers at stasis [see the section on stasis in Praxis.]

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/23/us/politics/right-and-left-partisan-writing-you-shouldnt-miss.html

 

Apply the CRAAP Test to Evaluate Possible Fake News

In an era of fake news, students need a standard way to evaluate sources they find on the Internet. Many librarians recommend using the CRAAP test, which was created by Meriam Library at CSU at Chico.  CRAAP is an acronym for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy and purpose.  The following graphic is a short-cut reminder of the criteria.  A fuller explanation of the topics follows:

CRAAP

————————– from Buford Library, http://libguides.library.ncat.edu/content.php?pid=53820&sid=394505—————————-

Currency: the timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance: the importance of the information for your needs

  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?

Authority: the source of the information

  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author’s qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

Accuracy: the reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content, and

  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: the reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

By scoring each category on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 = worst, 10=best possible) you can give each site a grade on a 50 point scale for how high-quality it is!

45 – 50 Excellent | 40 – 44 Good | 35 – 39 Average | 30 – 34 Borderline Acceptable | Below 30 – Unacceptable

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Sources:

http://libguides.library.ncat.edu/content.php?pid=53820&sid=394505

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/after-trump-librarians-develop-new-fact-checking-system_us_58c071d3e4b0ed7182699786