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Popular Press

What is the goal of a popular press article?

  • Present an argument in an easy to approach and concise manner
  • Act as an introductory piece so that those interested can do more research on their own
  • Share general opinions surrounding the topic

What is the typical audience?

  • Targets the general public

General Structure of a Popular Press Article

Title
  • Why is it important to have a good title?
    • The title is the first thing a reader sees before they even read an article. It is important to catch their eye and suggest an interesting or controversial topic to draw in the reader.
  • Why do we need an intriguing title?
    • An intriguing title makes the reader want to read the article more without revealing too much information that would otherwise fully explain what the article is about and what it may be arguing. However, be careful not to misrepresent your article for something it’s not.
  • Examples
    • Good example
      • “Trump Says He Plans to Have Military Guard Mexico Border”
        • This is a good example of a title because it is informative, it suggests a controversial subject but without going into detail, and it sparks interest to a variety of readers
    • Bad example
      • “Skydiver lands on beer vendor at women’s coleslaw wrestling event”
        • This is a bad example of a title because it tells the whole story of what the article is going to be about. And although it’s a striking sentence, it fails to target a specific audience or gain much interest in learning more about.

 

Introduction
  • Why is a good hook important?
    • A good hook is important for all types of writing: it serves as a means to grab your reader’s attention and helps them to determine whether your paper is worthwhile to read
    • Especially for popular press pieces, a good hook is incredibly important because it is indicative of the readability of you paper. If your piece starts off with a daunting hook filled with jargon, readers might shy away from your piece: remember that the purpose of the popular press is to make topics more accessible to the general public
  • What are some good approaches to writing a hook?
    • Start with a narrative
    • Descriptive scene
    • Provide jarring information
    • Thought provoking quote
    • Ask a question
  • When writing a hook, take into account your audience: What matters to them? Why would they choose to read your paper? What kind of information or style would draw them into your writing?
  • Examples of good hooks
    • “Every day, they slowly accumulate. Plates covered in sauces and crumbs. Bowls with a fine layer of sticky who-knows-what. Forks, knives, and spoons all gummed with bits of this and that. At the end of a long day of work, cooking, cleaning, and, for many, negotiating with small children, a couple has to face the big question: Who is going to do the dishes?” Link to Article.
  • Background
    • When writing background information, make sure to keep it concise. Don’t overcrowd the introduction with too much background information, it will deter your audience from reading the main argument of your paper. You will most likely be integrating background info throughout your paper, so write 2-3 sentences max of background information in your introduction.
  • Thesis
    • Can be written both implicitly or explicitly. This is completely up to the author’s discretion. Remember the goal of your paper is to grab your reader’s attention and have them read through your paper, so integrate your thesis in a way that will do so!
Body Paragraphs
  • Factual Evidence
    • Surprising Facts
    • Make sure to use facts from reputable sources!
    • Make your facts interesting, you want them to go beyond the general knowledge of the audience.
    • Make sure the kind of evidence you use goes with what you’re saying
    • Use factual evidence that evokes the response you want
  • Graphics
    • Why graphics are important
    • “The way your readers retain their information might come as a surprise to you. Because, well, only 20% of what they read from your text actually sticks. However, if you put that information into an image, suddenly the percentage of information takes a huge leap to 80%.” Link to Article.
    • How to use graphics
      • Make sure the graphics support your evidence/claim.
      • Graphics need to be clean and easily understood
      • Should be clear why they are in your paper
      • Use graphs to appeal to a more logical audience
      • Use photos to create an emotional appeal
    • Types of Graphics
        • Photos
        • popress1
          • Why we like this image: This picture offers emotional appeal to the reader. The article talks about why the poor population in America suffers and uses the image of a single mother working a minimum wage job to emphasize their point. Link to article
        • Charts and graphs
        • popress2
          • This is a good example because it personalizes the data/chart by allowing the reader to customize the data to their local experience and chart it against the national experience. Link to article
          • Clean, easy to read
          • Graphs do not require a lot of explanation
          • Large bolded text that separates itself from other parts of paper
Conclusion
  • Ways to approach writing your conclusion
    • Call to action
    • End with a quote
    • Relate your conclusion to the introduction
      • Brings your paper full circle
      • Gives the reader a sense of closure

General Tips:

  • Remember to maintain an approachable tone
  • Define all terms (assume your reader knows little to nothing about your topic)
  • Keep your writing engaging
    • Have a friend read your paper and let you know what parts they found interesting
  • Keep your paper concise

Personal Opinion

  • When incorporating personal opinion, make sure to backup your ideas with factual evidence! Make sure to show your point rather than just discussing it, this is where using graphics and jarring facts prove to be helpful.
  • Don’t be afraid to use the first person, and incorporate your unique voice. The audience is more likely to read a paper by someone who they think genuinely cares or is passionate about the topic.
  • As with any good argument, make sure to address the other side! If your paper’s audience is someone who opposes your idea, they most definitely, will pay attention if you acknowledge their point of view. Furthermore, it will strengthen your argument if you can address the opposing side.
  • Example that we like: Link to Article

Narratives

  • Using narratives within your argument gives the reader an opportunity to analyze a first hand account of the authors experience pertaining to their argument.
  • Creating a human connection can be helpful to better persuade your point.
  • Narratives also give context to the argument by giving the reader a story to follow to both attract their interest and educate them about the issues at hand.
  • Link to Example
  • Narrative Argument Structural Options

    Option #1 Option #2 Option #3
    • Traditional introduction (with thesis at the end)
    • Body (story, usually following chronological order)
    • Traditional conclusion (summarize main idea and emphasize thesis)
    • Narrative story (usually following chronological order)
    • Conclusion with a thesis
    • Narrative story (usually following a chronological order)
    • Thesis is not presented, just implied

           Link to Image