Write Your Own Op-Ed
Why Op-Eds Matter
One way you can take action for your campaign is to write or to recruit an advocate to write an opinion editorial (op-ed) for your local newspaper, magazine, blog, city, or school newsletter.
An op-ed is a written opinion editorial published in a local, regional, or national media outlet. Sometimes it’s a personal, emotional story—other times the facts are presented straightforward. Many people like to read op-eds because neighborhood ideas are important and they can’t get those same opinions in objective journalism. When you write about your cause publicly, you’re spreading awareness to legislators, journalists, and members of your county, giving them the chance to learn more about the issue, form their own opinions about your cause, and ideally take steps to get involved.
Do you think your town is ready to learn more in an op-ed? Let’s get started by breaking down the sample emotional op-ed below.
Ex. What can YOU do to help our children grow up healthy?
Your Full Name
Ex. Arnold Stevens
For millions of our neighbors, our teachers, our friends, and our children, finding nutritious and affordable food is a constant struggle. For many, it’s often easier to find a can of grape soda than it is to find a bag of grapes.
It’s important to make your key points early and often so that your reader understands why this is meaningful for them.
Today, more than 29.7 million people in America live in neighborhoods that lack easy access to a variety of healthy, affordable food. Many families in this position rely on their neighborhood corner stores for food purchases, which too often sell processed items high in sugar, fat, and salt. The corner stores that do offer healthier options may charge higher prices for them than a full-service grocer would.
What’s most troubling is that these small food stores tend to be located near our kids’ schools, driving up the consumption of unhealthy foods among children and teens. A recent study showed that more than 40% of elementary school students shopped at a corner store twice a day, most often buying chips, candy, and soda. Other research has revealed that teenagers who live near convenience stores are more likely to have higher body mass indexes (BMIs) and consume more sugary drinks than peers living farther away. With statistics like these, it’s no wonder that nearly one in three children are now at an increased risk for developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even certain cancers.
Where you can, be sure to include your state, town, county, or the specific community that you want to reach.
For many counties, like right here in [COUNTY], small retail stores, convenience stores, and gas stations selling unhealthy foods and beverages can seem like part of the problem. But what if they were also part of the solution? What if access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food—and a better life—was just around the corner?
Right now, health advocates across the country are taking on strategies to encourage corner stores to sell healthier foods. Stores are putting up signs and labels to help shoppers recognize the healthier choices. They’re dedicating more shelf space to things like fresh fruits and vegetables. Changes like these can help people eat healthier and likely reduce their risk of obesity.
Remember to include a link at the end of your piece so that your readers know how to join your movement or create a campaign of their own.
Join me and tell our local leaders to support healthy corner store initiatives in our county. [INSERT LINK] Together, we can ensure that for thousands of families, the path to a healthier lifestyle is just around the corner.
Keep your op-ed to 500 words max so that your important points aren’t cut during the editing process.
Word Count: 383 Words