Speak out. Make your voice heard. Never give up. These are just a few tidbits of wisdom that The OpEd Project “Write to Change the World” Core Seminar participants left with at the end of the day on May 5.
The sold-out class in the Los Angeles office of Ms. Magazine was led by Teresa Puente, a multitalented instructor hailing from Chicago. Puente is an assistant professor of journalism at Columbia College Chicago who also writes for Chicanísima, an independent news and opinion blog for Chicago Now (Chicago Tribune Media Co.). During the seminar, she spoke about her experience as a member of the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board and her experience as a writer on immigration and the Latino community in the United States. Interesting enough, it was Puente’s first time back to California after an extended period of time–she had previously worked at The Orange County Register and The Long Beach Knight Ridder (now know as the Long Beach Press-Telegram). Puente was able to help guide participants in developing their expertise and thinking of ways to construct their arguments.
Apart from Puente, American journalist and author Tom Zoellner spoke about his experience as an op-ed writer and how to go about pitching articles to editors. He gave them a few tips on how to approach editors and how to identify whether a news items is still fresh or is already stale. It was very much a collaborative session, with many questions answered and insights from Puente and West Coast Regional Manager Chelsea Carmona.
In addition, the individuals who attended the seminar were from all walks of life. Some had traveled far and wide, visiting from cities like San Francisco and Santa Barbara. The group also showcased a wide variety of professions, from lawyers and professors to city planners and students. The issues also ran the gamut, with some interested in writing about employment law to others wanting to address media culture or feminism.
The day ended with a jovial Happy Hour at Napa Valley Grille, where people gathered on the outdoor patio to sip on beverages and dine on appetizers. There was lots of chatter as everyone mingled in this intimate atmosphere. Special thanks to the past OEP Los Angeles alums who also attended the Happy Hour. It was great to see so many friends and past participants as well as hear about their various writing projects.
Connie K. Ho is the Los Angeles Regional Management Intern of The OpEd Project.