Lessons

How to Write a Commentary

3980850952_956de23975_z.jpg

Pills in production. Image by Fabio Hofnik. 2009.

Pills in production. Image by Fabio Hofnik. 2009.

img_8676.jpg

Erik Vance participates in an experiment in a hypnosis laboratory. Image by Liz Neeley. Seattle, WA, 2016.

Erik Vance participates in an experiment in a hypnosis laboratory. Image by Liz Neeley. Seattle, WA, 2016.

suggestible_you.jpg

At the University of Florida, Parkinson’s disease patient Russell Price undergoes surgery to implant a deep brain stimulation (DBS) lead

At the University of Florida, Parkinson’s disease patient Russell Price undergoes surgery to implant a deep brain stimulation (DBS) lead that will deliver electrical impulses to motion-controlling parts of his brain, treatment which has been shown to provide substantial relief from symptoms in appropriately selected patients. Additional improvement in some patients may also derive from the mere expectation that the procedure will help—the so-called placebo effect. “It’s not a magical thing,” says neurologist Michael Okun. “It’s another part of the brain that is producing a beneficial effect not directly related to the action of our treatment.” Image by Erika Larson. Florida, 2016.

pilgims.jpg

Image by Erika Larson.

Students were asked to write a commentary based on science writer Erik Vance' and his presentation of The Placebo Effect and Mind Over Body. Listening to the speaker was extremely important as well as observing a deconstructing body language. Students were expected to ask questions, take pleny of notes and come up with a thesis statement.

The Curriculum focus: Science, Language Arts, Creative Writing, International Studies

Before the presentation, students must make sure that they ….

 

  1. Listen carefully and take notes

  2. Quote accurately

  3. Write down any questions that you have for the speaker

After the presentation, answer the following questions:

  1. What was most effective about the presentation?

  2. What part of the presentation was of most interest to you?

  3. Was the speaker engaging?

  4. How relevant was the subject matter?

  5. How would you use the information presented to you?

 Writing Your Commentary……

  1. Write an effective introduction. ...

  2. Create a small outline for your commentary. ...

  3. Avoid excessive summarizing and paraphrasing from other sources. ...

  4. Incorporate quotes from the presenter. ...

  5. Write a strong conclusion.

  6. Include a clincher statement

Educator Notes: 

How to Write a Commentary Workshop

Monday, April 10th

The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

10:00 am-12:00 noon

Featuring Journalist and Science Writer Erik Vance

Facilitator: Pier Penic

 

The definition of commentary is discussion of opinions about something that is going on, or a spoken account of some event as it is happening, or a set of notes or explanations about something. When a political pundit is discussing the president's vote on a new bill, this is an example of political commentary.

Commentaries

Commentaries do not include original data and are heavily dependent on the author’s perspective or anecdotal evidence from the author’s personal experience to support the argument. Commentaries are usually very short articles, of around 1000-1500 words, and are in most cases invited by Editors from reviewers or experts in the field. They include a few references, and one or two tables and figures. Some journals require abstracts for commentaries, while others do not. The desired word count for these articles is also journal-specific. Authors should, therefore, read the guidelines provided by the journal carefully before they begin writing.

Lesson Builder Survey