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Writing Op-Eds, Blogs and Public Documents

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Writing Op-Eds, Blogs and Public Documents

Under this topic, students refine their written communication skills for public-facing documents. Students explore the uses of opinion editorials, blogs, and other public documents as tools to serve larger goals. Governments, nonprofits, and private organizations all employ written public communication, among other uses, to frame the conversation around issues in a way that is favourable to the organization's agenda.

Topic Learning Outcome: Upon completing this topic, students will understand the importance of public-facing documents as communications tools, and will understand how well-crafted publications can help influence public opinion and achieve organizational objectives. Students will be able to write concise, persuasive, evidence-centred compositions about public policy issues.

Core Concepts Associated with this Topic: Agenda Setting; Agenda; Attentive Public; Deliberation; Deliberative Democracy; Framing of Information; Ideas in Good Currency; Ideology; Lobbying; Moral Suasion; Narrative; Policy Images.

Recommended Reading

Seglin, Jeffrey. 2012. "How to Write an Op-Ed or Column." Harvard Kennedy School Communications Program.,%20HKS,%202012.pdf

Danziger, Marie A. "Some Rhetorical Uses of Story." Harvard Kennedy School.,%20Marie%20Danziger,%20HKS,%202012.pdf

Hannisian, Kate V. "Editing Yourself: How to Copy Edit Your Own Writing." Blue Pencil Consulting.,%20Kate%20Victory%20Hannisian,%20HKS,%202012.pdf

 Sample Assessment Questions:

1.) Write a mock op-ed commentary about the public policy issue of your choice, taking the position of your choice. Your objectives are to persuade readers of your point of view, and to convince them of the wisdom of a particular policy action.

2.) What do we mean when we refer to the concept of "narrative" in public policy discourse? Why is this concept important? Please provide one example of a public sector leader making use of a compelling narrative to win support for his/her preferred course of action.

Page updated by Sean Goertzen and Ben Eisen on 20 May 2015.


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© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance