PR Tips | Four Opinion Columnists You Should Be Reading Every Week
One of the best ways to improve your op-ed writing is to regularly consume the prose of people who have perfected the form.
The op-ed is a unique type of journalism. A good one immediately grabs a reader’s attention and constructs a compelling argument under tight space constraints. That’s not easy. And if you’re writing for online publication, you have the added challenge of enticing readers not to click away to, you know, some adorable video of a baby kangaroo doing a backflip.
Familiarize yourself to the rhythms of well-constructed pieces. Here, in no particular order, are my go-to op-ed Jedi Masters. Read them regularly and you’ll notice they retain a distinguishing and charming rhetorical style while still basically sticking to the standard op-ed template: Establish a news hook, forcefully articulate an argument, and substantiate that argument with ample evidence.
This particular selection admittedly evinces a bias for our hometown’s premiere paper. And it happens to skew toward classical conservatives. But you don’t have to share regional or ideological affinities with these guys to learn from their craftsmanship.
1. George Will
G-money occasionally unleashes crotchety old-man screeds (apparently he HATES blue jeans). But he also pairs muscular prose with Ph.D-trained insights into the finer points of politics.
2. E.J. Dionne
The lone progressive partisan on this list, E.J. communicates sophisticated points about public policy in a charmingly conversational tone.
3. David Brooks
Brooks is particularly good at synthesizing social science research and applying its insights to concrete national challenges. He also has eccentric intellectual tastes and is the person on this list most likely to randomly write about the nature of man or particle physics.
4. Peggy Noonan
Noonan is a former Reagan speechwriter and it shows in her prose. Her sentences are short and punchy. Noonan’s columns feel like they should be read aloud.