NYT Student Editorial Contest

Due April 4, 2017

SEM, The New York Times is holding its 4th annual Student Editorial Contest. SEM girls have opinions… Write them by April 4, 2017!

From the NYT:

Is Social Media Making Us More Narcissistic?
Do Teachers Assign Too Much Homework?
Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered?

Every day during the school year we invite teenagers to share their opinions about questions like these — on topics from reality TV to the justice system — and hundreds do, posting arguments, reflections and anecdotes to our Student Opinion feature.

Now, for the fourth year in a row, we’re inviting you to channel that enthusiasm into something a little more formal: short, evidence-based persuasive essays like the editorials The New York Times publishes every day.

The challenge is pretty straightforward. Choose a topic you care about, gather evidence from sources both within and outside of The New York Times, and write a concise editorial (450 words or less) to convince readers of your point of view.

With our judges, we will then use this rubric (PDF) for selecting winners to publish on The Learning Network.

As teachers know, the persuasive essay has long been a staple of high school education, but the Common Core standards seem to have put evidence-based argumentative writing on everybody’s agenda. You couldn’t ask for a more real-world example of the genre than the classic newspaper editorial — and The Times publishes, on average, four of them a day.

And at a time when breaking out of one’s “filter bubble” is more important than ever, we hope this contest also encourages students to broaden their news diets by using multiple sources, ideally ones that offer a range of perspectives on their chosen issue.

So what issue do you care about? Gun violence? Sexism? Animal testing? You decide, but here are 401 writing prompts that might give you ideas, and here is a link to last year’s winners so you can see what we’re looking for.