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Thread: News Sites and Resources

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  1. #9
    Herder of Hamsters AW Admin's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
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    Distinctions: Editorial, Guest Column, Op-Ed and News

    This is based on “Journalism 101: What is an editorial, anyway?” by Tyler Christensen Opinion Editor of The Missoulian.

    “An opinion piece that represents the view of the newspaper’s editorial board. While it was once common practice for editorials to go unsigned, the trend has been toward accountability by listing the names of editorial board members.” Note that editorials do not necessarily represent the opinion of all the journalists and staff; just that a majority of the editors agree that the opinion is worth publishing. It is, however, an opinion, albeit an officially sanctioned opinion.

    Guest Columns, Guest Opinions, Op-Ed
    The actual name will vary from publication to publication, but these are opinion pieces written by people who are not part of the publication's staff. Op-Ed is derived from Opposite Editorial. Back in the day, the Op-Ed pieces opposing points of view from those expressed in the Editorial columns were published on the pages opposite those columns. These may be by writers that the publication has invited to publish an opinion because they've been vetted and have expertise or particular experience that make them an authority. They may be by people who have no clue; it's a good idea to notice if the piece has a byline and if that person is in fact knowledgeable rather than merely verbose.

    Letters To the Editor
    These essentially unsolicited opinions sent to the publication by members of the general public; either in response to something published by the newspaper or magazine, or simply because the writer wanted to say something. The writer is not vetted, the prose is usually unedited or edited very lightly for length and spelling. Here too, it's worth noticing the byline, and, also, realizing that letters to the editor or letters of comment are opinions, they may be worthwhile or they may be completely absent of sense or facts. Some publications use Letters to the Editor as filler.

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