A current event essay will address the historical context and long term effects of a given aspect of current happenings in the world. Usually such a topic will stem from the realm of politics, law, international relations or some other controversial issue. For instance, The United States presidential election of 2008.
More often than not you will have to argue or present some sort of point about the given current event. This will require research and critical thinking skills. A current events essay provides the unique challenge of presenting a modern day issue in the context of history. If, again, your topic is the U.S. Presidential election 08, you should be able to provide good analysis of possible outcomes of the election and its long-term effects over social, political, and economical situation in the United States and the rest of the world.
Once again, research is the key to such an essay. What makes a current events essay different, however, is that relevant information is usually not yet printed in books. Therefore, journals, magazines, and websites will be of great use to the writer. News websites like BBC News, The New York Times, CNN.com would be of great help. However, websites like Digg or Yahoo! Buzz, or Google News are the best source for current events information since many, if not all, news corporations provide biased information that is approved by a political force that funds it. Social bookmarking services like Digg make it possible for any user to submit news which makes it impossible to neglect opinions. Moreover, they present all possible opinions and arguments which means you won't suffer long researching the issue.
Research needs to be geared to providing a broad understand on historical context and lasting impact of the current event. It can be assumed that there is some sort of progression of events that have allowed the given current event to have the impact that it is having on the world (region, community, anything). This needs to be carefully analyzed and incorporated into the writing. It is also important for the writer to develop a strong, multi-layered thesis that addresses the complexity of many current events.