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Cultural Commentary Mission Statement

I want to write about a relatively unexplored issue in the health care field, targeting a semi- informed audience.  My intent is to be both informative and convincing.  I hope to juxtapose aspects of academic and narrative writing to create a more holistic view of why this issue is a problem. 

My initial goal was to write a completely narrative-based story with a less obvious point.  However, as I wrote my first draft, I realized how multifaceted and far-reaching my argument was.  One single story could not fully encompass the problem.  However, it could scratch the surface and get one thinking about deeper problems.  As I was writing my draft, I had these bouts of opinionated thought that I jotted down.  Eventually I realized that this may be an effective way of writing.  So instead of separating them from the narrative, I interspersed them throughout my story.  I wanted to employ multiple perspectives from the start, and the use of pure opinion was a good way to transition between them.  Overall, it is similar to certain newspaper articles, and I think that the reason that format is so common is because it is effective.  I just hope that I didn’t get too academic in my opinions or too dull/unrelatable in my narratives. 

As far as the topic was concerned, I was a bit worried at first.  There are many things I feel strongly about, but not enough to turn into a 1000 word cultural commentary paper.  However, my friend showed me this article (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11013-011-9208-0/fulltext.html) and I knew instantly this was something powerful.  I had always felt this, but never really been able to articulate it.  However, after reading this article, my passions just spilled out onto paper (or computer, whatever).  My first draft was about 200 words too long, and I cut out a lot of the analysis in the current draft to make it more reader friendly.  The point is: read this paper if you are at all interested in health care and the underserved.

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3 responses to “Cultural Commentary Mission Statement

  1. Hey Justin,
    I really enjoyed reading about how your paper came about. I believe you have a unique perspective, having actually worked in clinics in underserved communities, and you likely have more insight on the realities of this situation than a reporter could hope to have. This reminds me why writing op-eds and having special reports in regular publications is so important. Real-life experience cannot be easily replicated by reporters, so I hope you continue to write on issues like these even once you are fully entrenched in your professional life.
    Cheers,
    Erlin

  2. Justin!
    I had similar concerns to yours when I started realizing that a lot of my own opinions started creeping into my analysis during my piece… which then ended up actually making up the bulk of my analysis during the piece. Woops. I’m not sure if that was necessarily a bad thing, but I think that’s a similar view that both of us share. There’s a certain amount of familiarity that makes a piece/the author/whatever really down to earth when some personal opinion is brought in instead of citing some scholarly article or outside source. I hope it worked for you (it sounds like it did)! I’d love to read your commentary sometime.
    Best,
    David

  3. yorkteng

    I felt exactly the same when I was writing a draft of my paper and realized that the bulk of my arguments were just my own opinions. But as I began to edit it, I found this approach to be just as or even more effective. I think that, especially for this kind of writing, certain topics just lend themselves to having lots of personal opinions and experiences. As a reader, it also makes me more comfortable knowing that the piece wasn’t written by someone who just read about topic online rather than actually be there in person.

    York

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