| November 20, 2015
Persuading Readers to Act
(1000 words)

This essay requires you to use a combination of your critical reading and writing skills. I want you to choose an issue of current significance, one that you've read about in a newspaper. It MUST be a newspaper. You may not use other news sources such as television or magazines. Your newspaper should preferably be an online edition because you will be required to hand in your article with the essay you write. See the links to local newspapers below.

First, spend some time reading the newspaper. You will probably find that if you spend any time at all doing this, an article will stick with you for some reason. I often turn immediately to the Opinion pages because I like to read the Community Forum. I often find articles there that incite my reactions and that cause me to write something in response.

As you read, you may focus on any section you find interesting, and your goal is to find an article that poses a problem to which you think you have a solution. As you already know, I often suggest that students choose topics that are as close to home, as local as possible because these seem to be the most interesting to students and seem to help students produce the best writing. Ultimately, though, the choice is yours.

Here's an example. Some time ago I read a Community Forum article in our local paper, The Californian, by a student whose parents recently bought a home and moved into my area. The student was complaining about the lack of manners and general culture in our town, and he was blaming it on several factors, one of which was the fact that lots of Republicans live here. He went on to point out that Republican voters tend to be a bit unenlightened about the extent to which their party actually benefits them.

The article made me perturbed because I thought his reasons were biased and based in political generalizations. I wrote a response where I pointed out my own opinions about the reasons for the problems he raised, and I pointed out what I thought the solution might be. The conclusion of my response was a call to action, asking the folks who live in this part of the county to start realizing that we all benefit when we start making positive contributions to the community.

It felt good to be part of the local "conversation" so to speak. Here is what I want you to do. Write an essay that proposes a solution to a problem you've read about in the paper. Introduce the problem with any of the three forms of personal writing that we've covered -- personal narrative, personal reflection, or personal description. Then you will proceed to persuade your readers to take action using the techniques outlined in the Guidelines on page 320 of your text.

NOTE: As stated above, you will be required to include the original article when you hand in this essay.


LA Times

OC Register

North County Times/The Californian

Long Beach Press Telegram


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