Short anecdote. Corny joke. Pop culture reference. Short sentences and generalizations written in slang. I’m gonna use a lot of contractions in this introduction here so people think I’m hip and cool. You know? Like Michael Jordan in Space Jam I’m with it and I want my readers to see that. I’m going to say something relatable to college students, something no one’s going to reasonably disagree with. Maybe I’ll talk about frat parties or use the word “sext.” I’m probably going to rephrase the same thing over again in order to fill up space.
But while all that is fun and good I’m going to need to transition to my thesis. I’m going to use words like “But” and “However” and drastically change the tone of my article from happy go lucky to serious business. Now I’m going to present an issue that has minor, completely passing importance to the Penn community and only the Penn community. This issue although completely irrelevant and yawn inducing will serve as the basis for my editorial.
Although there are genocides in Africa, political uprisings in the middle East, and fuck, even Charlie Sheen’s mental breakdown is more interesting than this shit, I choose to write about something safe and banal, like how Sector Requirements suck or how it’s about time Wawa starts accepting dining dollars. I mean, am I right?
Now I’m going to appeal to the reader, maybe address you personally. That’ll show you that this bullshit bumblefuck issue really applies to your life. Maybe another pop culture reference. Lady Gaga.
“I’m gonna add in my two cents about this topic,” College sophomore Lance Wildorf said. It’s good to include a quote to show that your issue really matters to the University community at large, “[I’m] going [to] put [in some brackets] to change [whatever] I [say] to agree with [the] point.” Most student newspaper columnists are too lazy to actually find people with relevant opinions so they usually just ask their stoned roommates. In fact, “The columnist usually just writes the quote himself and attributes it to someone else.”
Now I’m going to provide some historical backing or research that is pertinent to my issue. Maybe I’ll spend some time between frantic jerk sessions Wikipediaing my topic and paraphrasing the introductory paragraph. I’ll then throw in some statistics that look important. No matter what actual data says, I’ll skew the results to agree with my argument. For instance, according to The Department of Tautology, “100% of undergraduate students at Penn are pursuing a college degree.”
To end the article I’m going to make another claim. Should I ask some questions that may or may not be relevant to my argument? Whatever happened to the black guy from Hooked on Phonics? Or Was he In Reading Rainbow? Didn’t I see him on Community? Fuck it.
Time to hastily summarize my article. There’s no time for jokes or cultural references. Just longwinded, solemn sentences with a lot of uselessly descriptive adjectives and adverbs. In this final section I’m most certainly going to berate the University, prescribing a solution for my irrelevant issue.
See, not that hard. With this simple outline, anyone can be a functional student newspaper columnist. Too bad we don’t have a student newspaper.