An issue is a topic for debate, like government spending, pollution from fossil fuels or bias in news coverage. College writing assignments often ask you to take a stand on an issue and offer evidence (your own careful observations and reflections, or appropriate researched sources) supporting your position.
Another meaning of the word is to send something out for circulation: a new issue of the magazine; the post office issued a new set of stamps. In the modern sense of the word, an issue can also refer to a person’s problems: “He has serious issues.”
As you write your articles, be sure you are covering the right topics, and be mindful that you are presenting your argument in a clear, concise manner. You can do this by making an effort to interview the right people and find out all you can about your topic, including any important background information that readers may not know.
When you are writing an environmental article, for example, it’s essential to include characters that your readers will connect with: a starving African woman with flies on her eyelids and pot bellies who waits for the benevolence of westerners; an elephant in a zoo struggling to survive during a drought. You can add depth to your article by describing these characters’ hopes, dreams and frustrations.
To be a good writer on an issue, you have to keep up with the news and jump at opportunities to write about important events and developments. The best way to get an editor to notice your story is to tie it explicitly to a current event or controversy. If a celebrity died yesterday, for example, that’s the kind of issue that both readers and editors want to read about.