Op-Ed Rhetorical Analysis
One form of direct argumentation that is readily available is the opinion editorial, or op-ed. Most news sources, from local to international, include an opinion section. Sometimes, these pieces are written by members of the news staff; sometimes, they're by contributors or community members. Op-eds can be long (e.g., a brief statement of one's viewpoint, like in your local newspaper's Letter to the Editor section).
To get a better idea of how authors incorporate rhetorical appeals, complete the following rhetorical analysis exercise on an op-ed of your choosing.
1) Find an op-ed (opinion piece, editorial, or letter to the editor) from either a local newspaper, a national new source, or an international news corporation. Choose something that interests you, since you'll have to read it a few times over.
2) Read the op-ed through once, annotating parts that are particularly convincing, points that seem unsubstantiated, or other eye-catching details.
3) Briefly (in one to two sentences) identify the rhetorical situation (SOAP) of the op-ed.
4) Write a citation for the op-ed in an appropriate format.
5) Analyze the application of rhetoric.
a. Summarize the issue at stake and the author's position.
b. Find a quote that represents an instance of logos.
c. Find a quote that represents an instance of pathos.
d. Find a quote that represents an instance of ethos.
e. Paraphrase the author's call-to-action (the action or actions the author wants the audience to take). A call-to-action will often be related to an author's rhetorical purpose.
6) In a one-paragraph response, consider: Is this rhetoric effective? Does it fulfill its purpose? Why or why not?
VICE News Rhetorical Appeal Analysis
VICE News, an alternative investigatory news outlet, has recently gained acclaim for its inquiry-driven reporting on current issues and popular appeal, much of which is derived from effective application of rhetorical appeals.
You can complete the follwing activity using any of their texts, but I recommend "State of Surveillance" from June 8, 2016. Take notes while you watch and complete the organizer on the following pages after you finish.
Audience Analysis: Tailoring Your Appeals
Now that you've observed the end result of rhetorical appeals, let's consider how you might tailor your own rhetorical appeals based on your audience.
First, come up with a claim that you might try to persuade an audience to believe. Then, consider how you might develop this claim based on the potential audiences listed in the organizer on the following pages. An example is provided after the empty organizer if you get stuck.