You are viewing an archived copy of the old YWP website. Visit our current site to add new content or contact users.



Jul 05




Speak out!
In writing or visual art, express your opinion on the issues that matter to you! YWP brings you a range of newsy, topical challenges that reflect recent news and events, locally and globally. The Opinion Challenges list will keep growing through the year. New challenges are featured at the top of the list, but you can respond to any challenges any time.

Click for the list!

[Photo credit: Lia Chien, YWP; Gun violence protest, Montpelier, VT, 2019]

  • Commentary is really anything that you want to say about an issue, or about something that is going on in your community or the world, or an idea you have about how to make things better. Your opinion can be presented in writing or images.
  • Personal experiences are a great source of inspiration and storytelling. When you link these personal experiences to a larger issue you can create a powerful, universal connection.
  • Express what you think in a clear, compelling way. Read and research, know your topic, but remember that it is your opinion we're looking for.
  • Use the tools of persuasion – from personal experience and emotional appeals to logic and expert opinion. (Remember to credit your sources.)
  • Generally, opinion or commentary writing is non-fiction prose rather than poetry, although you'll always find exceptions to the rule. In fact, you'll see many examples of poetry as hard-hitting commentary on Feel free to choose the genre or artistic medium that works best for you in conveying your message.
  • At its best, commentary aims to get around rigid ways of thinking and partisan barriers by exploring the human dimensions of an issue. It is more about persuasion and provoking thought than hammering home a point.
  • Commentary is most effective when the writer or visual artist has an open mind and is an independent thinker. You do not have to take a simple position that is either black or white — many situations are complex and gray, and the commentary can reflect that.
  • Photography and art are an excellent way to connect with news and current events, and to urge action on issues that need our attention. Great photojournalism has a spontaneous, authentic quality, capturing events, people, history, a moment in time — perhaps through a human expression, the play of light, a fleeting dynamic. 
  • When creating a photo essay, consider writing a brief written introduction. This ushers the reader toward a general sense of what you were thinking as a photographer, and what to expect in the photos to come. You do not have to identify every photo with a caption, but you can if you want to. For YWP's purposes, please avoid taking photos inside schools or other buildings or on private property. They cannot be considered for publication, due to privacy concerns. If taking photos of people, remember to get their permission and the correct spelling of their names to include with the photos.
  • Illustrations are often inspired by a written piece and meant to enhance the message. You could create art inspired by a commentary or story by another YWP writer's work or your own writing. You might also choose to tell a story through a graphic novel or cartoon. 

OPINION grew out of YWP's Community Journalism Project (CJP). CJP began in 2019 to capture the opinions of the YWP community on news and events, such as gun violence, racial and gender inequality, reproductive rights, climate change. In 2023, CJP became the Opinion section for our relaunched site, carrying on the tradition of showcasing the commentary of our writers and artists. You can view all current Opinion challenges here, and past challenges from 2019-2023 will be saved on our YWP archive website.
About the Author: YWP
Hey YWP, you're at Young Writers Project headquarters! Want to get in touch? Just message Reid@YWP (Susan Reid, YWP executive director).