Sample Op-ed Template

Here’s a sample Op-Ed to get you started. Feel free to borrow pieces, but also add your own voice and make it relevant to your community.

Democracy requires access to information. Unfortunately, our media wastes too much time reporting on celebrities, chasing ambulances, and giving opinions — not news. I want my news to be factual, socially relevant, and delivered from diverse perspectives. This is why I watch Al Jazeera English (AJE).

AJE is the only news network with more bureaus in the global south than in Europe and North America and has won accolades and awards for its coverage of the tsunami in Japan, the drug war in Mexico, the this year’s inspiring “Arab Spring.” It broadcasts to over 250 million households in 120 countries on 6 continents and is the most watched news channel on You Tube with over 2.5 million views per month.

Unfortunately, not everyone here in the US can watch it. If you don’t have the high-speed internet or a satellite dish, you may not even know about it. Most Americans rely on cable to get their news, but cable providers in only 5 places in the U.S. offer 24-hour access AJE (Washington DC; Toledo OH; Burlington VT; Bristol County, RI; and now New York City, NY). This is not enough. Cable companies should provide access to this resource to all their costumers.

Students can play a role in making this happen. In the 1980s, when MTV was first launched, cable companies were reluctant to carry the channel. So musicians and music lovers launched the “I want my MTV campaign,” encouraging fans across the country to call their cable companies to ask for the channel. (Google “Sting, I want my MTV” for some funny 80s nostalgia). Now MTV is a staple in all basic cable packages.

Just as music lovers rallied for MTV, lovers of democracy should rally behind Al Jazeera English. This is going to require mass citizen action. Call your cable companies today and join one of the media activist groups working for this great cause. Rethink Press’s website is a great place to start:

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