September 23, 2012

Writing About Controversial Topics



Knowing how to write about topics that are controversial without offending people or getting into trouble is an essential skill for the contemporary writer. If you can write about these subject, you can write about everything.2

Controversial articles can be opinion, personal essay, persuasive. News reports are different in that they report happenings, and are not op-ed.

Writing helps clarify and/or alter our own viewpoints: I’ve often felt I could argue a point, but when I sit down to write about the issue, I discover my thinking is fuzzy

Why write about controversial topics? The issue needs to be addressed. Addressing it can be personally cathartic, and your opinion should become part of the conversation about the issue.


Hints for writing a controversial

  • Define your goal: Ask so what? Why is this topic worthy of being written about? More precisely, why am I arguing this side of the issue, why is it worthy of being written      about. Abortion is violent life-ending abuse, unwanted pregnancies disrupt lives.
  • Define the basic value that both sides share. Both sides of the abortion issue value life.
  • Recognize your biases on abortion, I experienced infertility and  adoption. Ergo., oppose abortion.
  • Become familiar with both sides of the issue—opposing facts and opinions
  • Define your concise opinion
  • Organize your points; link pros and cons together
  • Stay focused on the issue
  • Research, document, and continually recheck your facts, By providing factual information, you are responsibly putting your philosophies into the world and giving your readers the opportunity to decide for themselves1.
  • Write clearly, succinctly
  • Write to your reading audience with relevant terms—ghetto youth won’t understand medical terminology
  • Write rationally, not emotionally—don’t bash or sensationalize
  • Present your arguments. Don’t preach

Finally, formulate your lead—state the opinion you will present.

Formulate your ending—reiterate the opinion you have presented.


When you write a controversial article, expect confrontation. Don’t be offended when someone disagrees with you. Welcome discussion.

Any readers with other suggestions, please note them in the comment box below.



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