Overview of Major Assignments in CO150

Portfolio 3 Guidelines: Part B

Writing an Argument for a Public Audience

Overview: In Part B of Portfolio III, you will revise your argument from Part A to create an essay that is most appropriate for a public audience of your choice. To do so, you will need to choose an audience. You will also choose a publication that you feel will most effectively bring your argument to your audience. For example, if you are arguing about whether or not parents should put their children in day care, you will choose a publication that parents are likely to encounter in the public domain (e.g. Parents magazine).

Purpose: To revise your argument for a public audience. Your specific purpose for writing will vary depending on your chosen audience. For example, if you're writing to undecided readers, your purpose will likely be to convince them to agree with your argument. If you're writing to those in opposition, your purpose may be to make them less resistant to your argument. If you're writing to readers who are in agreement with you, your purpose may be to persuade them to take action on your issue.

Audience: You will determine the audience. Begin by asking: Who needs to hear my argument? Who do I want to make this argument for? Perhaps you'd like to write to a specific person, such as a politician. Or, maybe you want to target a specific group of people such as parents, teachers, scientists, college students, republicans, democrats, etc…. Note: The most appropriate audience for your argument may still be an academic one. If so, you will need to choose a specific type of publication (e.g. an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education or an education website) and tailor your argument to that context. Also, it's possible that the best audience for your issue is a general audience. If this is the case, pay close attention to the scope of your general audience. Do you want to write to a local audience (voters in Ft. Collins who read The Coloradoan)? Or, do you want to write to a larger general audience (those who read Time magazine)? If you choose a general audience, you will still need to revise your essay according to the publication context you're writing for.

Publication Context: Once you choose your publication, you will need to analyze the publication in terms of its requirements and conventions so that you can revise your previous argument to accommodate them. This means you should read several sample texts from your chosen publication. Find out how the writing looks. What type of language and tone are appropriate? What types of evidence are commonly used? You will need to shape your own essay to fit these expectations. Furthermore, most public arguments incorporate some visual elements. That is, they rely on pictures, graphics, charts, texts boxes, etc… to make points convincing. You should also incorporate some visual elements (specifically those found in your publication) into your argument. While the visual components will not be as important as the writing itself, they will enhance the overall appeal of your text. We will discuss how to integrate visual components in class.


Paper Length: While there is no set length for your argument, it should be similar to the length of the articles in the publication you analyzed.
Due Date: See TR or MWF Syllabus for due dates
Worth: 10% of your final grade

* For assistance with this essay, visit The Writing Center (in Eddy 6) or come by office hours.