Let’s Talk About Election 2020 wants to hear from students about issues that matter to them. But issues we care about can’t be separated from who we are, where we come from and what we value. That’s why we’re asking students to submit a commentary.
What is a commentary? It’s a lot like an op-ed you’d see in the newspaper, but for a broadcast audience. A commentary asks writers to make a claim or take a stand using both personal experience or opinion and evidence-based analysis. Because it draws on personal experience and accessible language to connect to an audience, persuasive commentary differs from more formal genres of literary or scientific commentary.
You’re probably already making connections between persuasive commentary and other types of writing. This type of commentary has lots in common with personal narrative, op-ed writing, civically engaged writing and elements of persuasive and argumentative writing.
As with any writing genre, a writer’s authentic voice is vital. But in persuasive commentary, the writer crafts her story with her own experience and a public audience in mind. It might help to think of persuasive commentary as one perspective in an ongoing conversation about an issue.
Annotate the infographic, "The Components of Commentary" and the examples of persuasive commentary collected below.
In your annotations, respond to the following questions:
Health is something everyone is familiar with. When we think of health, we think about our condition right now, our habits and our illnesses. Medical care is what helps us when we have problems with these circumstances. Unfortunately, not everyone has it for them or their families....
In the faded photo, I’m not even two years old. Clad in a 70s brown and tan sweater, I stand shivering in the Merced River on my first trip to Yosemite National Park.......
Having grown up in Oakland, California, a place that calls itself home to thousands of immigrants from around the world, I believe America needs to be kinder and more welcoming to the millions of people who are trying to come to our shores to create a better life for themselves and their families....
The phone would ring, and I would let the call go to the answering machine. ...