OPINION: How can I make my opinion matter?


Hailey Stessman

The Opinion section at The Gateway is the perfect place to share your opinions to a large audience. Graphic by Hailey Stessman/The Gateway

So, you have an opinion, but what now?

Perhaps you got into a heated discussion with your friend on why smooth peanut butter is superior to crunchy peanut butter or you just witnessed an important policy change fall through, but one thing is for sure: you desperately want someone to agree with you.

You wish someone out there could back you up on the versatility of smooth peanut butter, or you wonder if there’s a way to find a large enough audience to sign your petition for a new policy to present to the city council.

If only there was a publication that would be willing to help spread my opinion to members of the university and surrounding communities to gain support without judging my lack of experience in writing.

What if I told you that there is a place that can do just that? Now, what if I told you that place is the publication that you’re reading right now?

UNO’s student-run newspaper The Gateway strives to offer a platform for students to compile a portfolio of their published contributions for future job opportunities, but it allows students to write about topics and issues that they are passionate about, particularly in the Opinion section.

The Opinion section, and the publication as a whole, welcomes any and all opinions while reassuring students that of all skill levels and backgrounds are capable to submit stories. The staff is always willing to assist contributors in finding sources, crafting a strong argument, and giving constructive feedback.

What many people may not realize is how impactful a story published at The Gateway can be along with how large the audience truly is. Your story has the potential to reach faculty members,  local businesses and organizations, and even local and state politicians. What members of the community can do with an opinion piece is powerful. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a journalism student or have never submitted writing to a publication. All voices are valid, especially university students.

Not sure where to start and unsure of what a strong opinion piece looks like?

Here are some tips to get you confident and ready to write your opinion story:

  • Although it can be difficult to suspend any fear about sharing your opinion, it is crucial to have confidence in your argument. You need to fully believe in what you are fighting for and understand that your opinion is appreciated.
  • With every argument, there needs to be strong supporting evidence. Be sure to thoroughly explain why your opinion or viewpoint is firm and substantial.
  • Include a variety of sources to support your argument. Inserting statistics or personal experiences from other individuals adds a level of credibility and relatability.
  • Don’t feel pressured to submit a full length formal essay; opinion stories need to have life. Allow your emotions to influence word choice and structure. Perhaps you could include an anecdote or traces of your personality. Think of it as a conversation.

If you are interested in contributing to the Opinion section, send an email my way! hstessman@unomaha.edu