Politics and politicians dominate headlines and television programs, and with the presidential race underway, all media enter the fray. I was asked to write the newsletter for my town when I lived in Illinois, and I accepted because it was an opportunity to hone my writing skills and get published. It wasn’t my favorite freelance opportunity, but I value the insight it gave me to the political scene. Politically correct is an understatement when you write for a governmental agency. Every single word is scrutinized and must be approved.
To find if this is your forte, sit in on local government meetings. Listen to what the elected officials say. Scrutinize and analyze their statements. Do research. Find out what the hot topics are. Talk to constituents and learn what they consider important in their communities and districts. If this venue piques your interest, see if you can write for your town or county or other governmental agency. It gives you an idea of what is expected of you.
Political opinion, of course, is a different matter. If you want to pursue this trail, start by listening to pundits on news programs. A copy of “Political Writing: A Guide to the Essentials” by Adam Garfinkle will be helpful. An incisive review of it is at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/19/how-to-write-that-essay-or-speech.
It takes a special technique to present your opinions in a clear, concise way and to decode what the politicians say.