Editorial: Guidelines for WT persons publishing an Opinion piece


Here at The Prairie News, we are the oldest organization on the campus of West Texas A&M University. We are a student-run workplace to help inform students and the WT community about the happenings of our university.

We are open to any WT person wanting to publish their perspectives on what occurs on or impacts campus. Below, the editorial staff and reporters generated rules that those wishing to publish an opinion piece must abide by.

All pieces shall contain the following quote in italics at the top of the page, clearly visible to reader.

The Prairie News is a student-led free press.  All opinions expressed herein are solely those of the writer and not those of WTAMU.”

Try to zigzag sparingly.
When writing your opinion piece, make your point clear. Be sure to avoid getting sidetracked and stick to your argument. Keep your view on the same path rather than going multiple ways.

No Jargon.
Jargon uses specific words or expressions that people in particular professions use that not everybody outside of the trade or group may understand. For something like articles for everyone to read, it’s best to not use words that most people won’t fully understand.

Be clear about your reasoning and thinking.
Make sure you have thought out your argument. Remember that readers only have some information and facts about your opinion. Ensure you give the readers all the information you know so they can catch up.

Please make sure the facts are correct, and be prepared to back them up.
When writing an article, you want to ensure your information is correct and use reliable sources. You never want to misinform the public because it can spread false news; it goes against journalist integrity. It can cause the audience to lose trust in you and your news publication.

Numbers are robust, in limited numbers.
Don’t overload your reader with statistics. Keep calm with the numbers! People don’t want to read a bunch of different percentages and amounts to try and understand your story. Less is better in the case of numbers.

The more complex the thought, the shorter the sentence.
When you report on a complex news story, you want to ensure the readers can clearly understand the point you are trying to get across in your sentences. Although we often want to write in complex sentences to explain complex thoughts, we should do the opposite. The more difficult it is for you to explain the idea or to happen, the shorter and more basic your sentences should be. Example: “Suffering massive military casualties and repeated defeats in Ukraine, Russia has begun cannibalizing its male population.” Shortened: “Russia has started drafting its male population due to its significant military losses in Ukraine.”

Must this be in question form? It’s better to ask the question than lead the reader to a solution they are unprepared to ask. What should you do when answering difficult questions? Ask the question.

When you want to publish a story, you will contact and coordinate with the editing staff at The Prairie News. If a WT person has questions about publishing or would like to discuss the publishing of an opinion piece, please email us at [email protected].