An editorial is a statement or article by a news organization (generally a newspaper or magazine) that expresses the opinion of the editor, editorial board, or publisher. Similarly, an "op-ed" is usually a guest opinion article appearing on the page opposite a newspaper's editorial.[1] The term op-ed originates from the tradition of newspapers placing such materials on the page opposite the editorial page. The term "op-ed" is a combination of the words "opposite" and "editorial."

The first modern op-ed page is generally attributed to the New York Times, which initiated its page on September 21, 1970, under editorial page editor John B. Oakes. Oakes had argued for the page's creation for ten years; when it appeared it instantly became one of the paper's most popular features. At the time, Oakes wrote that his motive in creating the page was to provide a forum for non-Times employees to have their say.

Editorial Boards[]

The editorial board is a group of people, usually at a print publication, who dictate the tone and direction that the publication's editorials will take. Editorials are typically not written by the regular reporters of the news organization, but are instead collectively authored by a group of individuals and published without bylines. In fact, most major newspapers have a strict policy of keeping "editorial" and "news" staffs separate.[2]

In the United Kingdom opinion articles are often referred to as "leading articles" or "leaders."

The editorial board of a newspaper will regularly convene to discuss and assign editorial tasks. If editorials are written by the board, then they generally represent the newspaper's official positions on the issues. Often however, there exist also one or more regular opinion columnists who present their own point of view. Most newspapers also utilize nationally syndicated columnists to supplement the content of their own opinion pages.

Editorial Guidelines[]

Editorials are generally printed on their own page of a newspaper, and are always labeled as editorials (to avoid confusion with news coverage). They often address current events or public controversies.

Generally, editorials fall into four broad types: news, policy, social, and special. When covering controversial topics such as election issues, some opinion page editors will run "dueling" editorials, with each staking out a respective side of the issue.

Many magazines also feature editorials, mainly by the editor or publisher of the publication. Additionally, most print publications feature an editorial, or letter from the editor, followed by a Letters to the Editor section. The American Society of Magazine Editors has developed a list of editorial guidelines, to which a majority of magazine editors commonly adhere.[3]


The editorial page contains editorials written by a member of the news organization and the opinion page contains opinion columns and sometimes editorial cartoons:

  • Editorials are (usually short) opinion pieces, written by members of the editorial board of the paper. They reflect the stance of the paper and do not have bylines.
  • The opinions expressed on op-ed pages reflect those of the individual authors, not the paper. The articles have bylines and are written by individual free-lance writers, guest opinion writers, syndicated columnists, or a regular columnist of the paper.

Structure of Op-Eds[]

Most op-ed pieces take the form of an essay or thesis, using arguments to promote a point of view. Newspapers often publish op-ed pieces that are in line with their editorial slants, though dissenting opinions are often given space to promote balance and discussion. Requirements for article length varies according to each publication's guidelines, as do a number of other factors such as style and topic. An average op-ed is 750 words or less.[4]

Popular Usage of the Term "Op-Ed"[]

"Op-ed" has become a general category to identify opinion from fact regardless of the medium. For example, Web pages containing opinion articles are labeled "op-ed," even though the original meaning is not relevant.

It has become popular in some circles to incorrectly expand the term "op-ed" as "opinion-editorial," a reasonable guess at the term's origin. "Op-ed" actually refers to the page opposite the one containing editorials. On the two-page 'flat,' the op-ed would be separated from editorial by the fold of the newspaper.

Leading Editorial Pages[]


Perhaps the most prominent editorial page is that of the The New York Times, which features the contributions of such journalists as Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, Paul Krugman, Frank Rich, David Brooks, and William Safire.

Though smaller than its Times counterpart, The New York Sun also features a prominent editorial page.[5]

The Washington Post opinion page[6] features opinion columnists Charles Krauthammer, David Ignatius, and E.J. Dionne among others.

Widely popular with investors and businespeople, The Wall Street Journal features an editorial page, also known as the Opinion Journal.


Prominent regional editorial pages include:

The Dallas Morning News (Texas - South)[7], most notably Rod Dreher and Carl Leubsdorf.

The Los Angeles Times (California - West Coast)[8].

Hartford Courant (Connecticut - Northeast)[1]

Leading Magazine Editorial Pages[]

Prominent magazine editorial pages inlcude: The New Yorker, Playboy, National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Nation, Newsweek, and U.S. News.


See also[]

Credit and categories[]

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  8. [9], including notable columnists: Jonah Goldberg and Rosa Brooks. The Chicago Tribune (Illinois - Midwest[10] The Rocky Mountain News (Colorado - Midwest)[11] The Providence Journal (Rhode Island - Northeast)[12]