1020 Project 1: Letter to the Editor
1020 involves a 3 Project long assignment series that has you evaluate a publication you would like to write an environmental article for, analyze sources to use for your article, and finally create the article with researched sources. The purpose of this first Project is for you to begin to analyze and evaluate the publication you are looking to write for, including picking a topic to write about. This paper will incorporate both your ability to analyze the rhetorical situation of the publication, how they handle research, and how you can write an article for them. You will demonstrate these abilities by writing a letter to the editor of the publication you have chosen, asking to write your article for them.
To begin, pick a publication you would like to write for: the New York Times Science Section, Science Direct, National Geographic, The Energy News Network, Nature, Buzzfeed News, etc. Pick a publication you will enjoy writing for. You will do an in-depth analysis of this publication you chose.
Then, pick a topic they havent covered yet; This topic MUST relate to an environmental concern in some way: pollution, environmental technology, climate change, endangered species, weather shifts, clean energy, animal repopulation, invasive species, etc. Your topics must be specific as opposed to broad: “how Nashville’s Zoo is working to conserve giant anteaters” is an acceptable topic; “Zoos are trying to conserve endangered animal species” is too broad. Get in touch with questions!
You will need to:
Describe what you know about the publication and why your article would work on their website
Show you know how theyve already covered the topic youve chosen and why your aspect of the topic would be new for them
Explain what you know about your chosen topic and why you are qualified to write about it
Detail further research you will do to create your article; what you know and dont know about the topic
Take a look at how your publication uses research and dissect how you could apply that to your own article and topic; make sure you can answer these questions if asked.
- Look at a few of their articles: how do they incorporate research?
- What authority do the various authors establish? What do they say in the articles to convince you they know what they are talking about and should be believed?
- How does the publication incorporate sources outside of their own website? Do they directly reference anything or assume you have knowledge of the subject? What knowledge does the website assume you have?
- Who is the intended audience of this publication? What is the intended purpose, context, and constraints; in other words, what does this publication hope to achieve with their articles?
Is the tone of the articles on the website conversational or academic?
What is this publications reputation? How do you know?
- Is it an online or physical publication? How might that change the nature of presenting research?
- What about the way in which research is handled by this publication that are helpful? What are the ways in which it is not helpful? Perhaps think about Stedmans Annoying Ways People Use Sources for references. Think about the differences in how sources are used in academic papers versus an online article.
- Finally, how can you write an article for this publication that will follow their style, research references, informational tone, etc? What else do you need to know to craft an article for this publication and how could you convince an editor to let you?