Timing: It should be obvious why we are discussing the subject now, instead of next month or next year. Usually that means some sort of recent development or something that will soon happen.
Originality: The author has something new to contribute to the conversation.
Opinion: There is a clear opinion expressed, beyond mere analysis. The author is advocating for a position and/or criticizing an idea or decision.
Authority: The author has pertinent expertise or more than an average level of familiarity with the topic.
Voice: The style is similar to a personal essay. You are writing in your own voice (though preferably not using the first person) and not quoting other people’s views.
Structure: Starts in an engaging way and quickly signals to the reader where the piece is going. The argument is developed, and then the piece ends on a definitive, clear note about what the point is.
Writing style: Engaging and clear.
Tone: Forceful arguments are welcome, but not nastiness and name-calling. Avoid attribution of motive and sarcasm.
With Files from the Edmonton Journal and the Montreal Gazette
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