About the Course
The Art of Opinion Writing for Health Policy is designed to equip participants with the skills to craft compelling opinion pieces on the health system. Whether you’re a seasoned writer looking to enhance your expertise or a beginner eager to explore opinion writing, this course from The Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania will provide you with a step-by-step guide to finding subjects, constructing arguments and writing clearly.
Led by an experienced instructor with a deep understanding of opinion writing, this course will be more of an interactive workshop where we discuss ideas and work on our writing, using the wisdom and interests of the group to propel the process. Our goal is to help you develop a piece that is substantially ready to be published by the end of the course.
Join us on this engaging journey to bring better information to the public! The class will be held on four consecutive Mondays, Oct. 2, 9, 16, and 23, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. ET, over Zoom.
Why Write Opinion Pieces?
Opinion pieces can amplify your role as an expert, expanding your reach and influence. A diverse range of funders, collaborators and interest groups may want to engage with you after reading your work. You may be invited to share your insights on popular forums such as radio and television shows, podcasts, and even a congressional committee. Writing for the public can also enhance the profile of your academic work. Op-eds persuade both the public and elites, according to researchers from Yale and the Cato Institute in 2018. A 2020 BYU study in PLOS ONE found that popular media stories were twice as likely to predict scientific impact as the reputations of the author or the journal.
What You Will Learn:
During this four-week course, we will discuss how to:
- Identify Compelling Topics: Learn how editors think and what constitutes newsworthy topics at publications you care about.
- Write with Clarity and Precision: Jargon cuts you off from your intended audience. We will practice conveying complex ideas in an accessible way.
- Craft Engaging Openings: Learn how to captivate readers from the outset and set the tone for your piece.
- Structure Your Opinion Piece: Understand how opinion pieces are frequently organized and use those formats to maximize your impact.
- Build a Solid Argument: Evidence should be presented artfully. One tactic we will discuss is to acknowledge counterarguments and refute them.
- Create Impactful Conclusions: Good opinion pieces generally give recommendations. How specifically would you change the world?
- Navigate Ethical Considerations: Explore the ethical dimensions of opinion writing to ensure your work upholds the highest standards of journalistic integrity.
- Publish and Promote Your Work: Gain insights into promoting your opinion pieces through various channels.
Why write for the public? “You gain coverage, you gain impact, and sometimes even partnerships,” noted LDI Senior Fellow Ezekiel Emanuel, who has experienced all three as a prolific writer of opinion pieces over many years.
Director of Content Strategy
Karl Stark is Director of Content Strategy for Penn LDI, where he focuses on encouraging LDI Fellows to write for the public. Before joining LDI, he worked for more than three decades at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he served as Health Editor, Business News Editor and National/Foreign Editor, among other positions. His reporting on the bankrupt Allegheny health system helped lead to indictments of the top three executives. He also served as President of the Association of Health Care Journalists, the nation’s leading group of health reporters and editors. He is a co-author of AHCJ’s “Covering the Quality of Health Care – A Resource Guide for Journalists” and leads a session on covering hospital finances at AHCJ’s annual meeting. He is a graduate of Yale University where he played varsity tennis. He also has distant memories of skating competitively with his sister Julie.
How much does the course cost and who is eligible?
This course is free and by invitation only.
Is prior experience in writing required?
No writing experience is necessary. This course is designed to accommodate both beginners and experienced writers looking to enhance their skills.
How will the course be delivered?
The course will be conducted entirely online. Participants will have access to live sessions on Zoom and course materials as well as personalized feedback from instructors.
What is the time commitment for this course?
The course will meet on four consecutive Mondays from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on Oct. 2, 9, 16, and 23. There will be four hours of engagement per week, including two hours of live class time and about two hours of additional reading and writing assignments. Participants are encouraged to progress at their own pace.
Will I receive a certificate upon completion of the course?
Yes, upon successful completion of the course requirements, participants will receive a certificate of completion from the Leonard Davis Institute of Health economics at the University of Pennsylvania.
How can I enroll in this course?
To enroll, please visit our website and follow the registration instructions. Spaces are limited, so we encourage you to secure your spot as soon as possible.