Diversity of opinion adds spice to page

January 05, 1999

Because of a production error that affected legibility, this article, originally published Sunday, is being reprinted.

THIS has been a busy year around the Opinion Commentary desk, with a presidential scandal, a gubernatorial election and an announcement from Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke that he won't seek a fourth term -- among other items -- prompting amateur and professional writers to weigh in with their opinions.

Our goal is to produce a lively, informative page each day filled with commentaries by syndicated columnists and local writers. While the editorial page, which is found to your left, offers the opinion of The Sun as an institution, this page provides other views.

So, how do you get published on the page opposite the editorial, or op/ed, page? We look for writers who take a strong stand on an issue of public concern and explain why; propose an unexpected solution for an old problem; present a provocative idea humorously. Thoughtful essays about daily life, a local matter of concern or other issues all qualify.

Such articles are, generally, tightly focused and average about 700 to 800 words in length.

Particularly of interest are topics involving the quality of our public schools, the future of the city, health care, transportation and the environment.

Many good writers have trouble mastering the art of writing an op/ed article. It's different from writing a term paper, a legal brief or even a news story. Such an article is not the place for verbose, flowery language or detailed accounts of overly complex subjects.

The best op/ed page articles tell the reader quickly and clearly what the article is about, develop the idea and provide ample support.

The op/ed page does not have a particular "line" -- liberals, conservatives and moderates are welcome.

Pub Date: 1/05/99

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