Essentials of Editorial Writing
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Editorial writing is an important task in journalism. This is because
a newspaper’s opinion on topical issues should be expressed
meaningfully and persuasively. Newspapers play advocacy role
through the editorial. They fight battles for the public, set agenda
and carve out an image for themselves through discourses featured
in the editorial. This is why writing the editorial is serious business.
It requires knowledge of basic approaches and skills which
facilitate presentation of persuasive opinions meaningfully. Poorly
written editorial could negatively affect the corporate image of a
In the newspaper business, every organization has a special
channel upon which it discusses and illuminates topical issues in
the society from its own point of view. It is through that channel
that events that have already been reported in the media but are too
weighty or topical to be ignored, are given more explanation,
interpretation, and in-depth analysis with the intention to persuade
the readers or simply let the public know what the newspapers
position on that issue is. That special channel is the editorial – the
corporate voice of a newspaper.
Editorial as the “voice” of a media organization, used to be
featured only in newspapers. But these days, some magazines have
broken that tradition by setting aside a space for editorial. These
magazines treat specific issues on the editorial and express a
corporate position on the issue, just as is done in newspapers.
However, the use of editorial is still dominated by newspapers,
both online and hard copy editions.
However, some radio and television stations today have
what they refer to as editorial. In this instance, it is a broadcast
statement which presents the opinion of that media house on an
issue. The Voice of America (VOA) English to Africa service
differs from other radio organizations on this issue. After the
Night-line Africa News programme, the VOA airs what it calls an
editorial which is the position of the United States of America on
certain issues. It is not called commentary, neither is it the position
of VOA. This could be described as an in-house slight departure
from the conventional practice of airing commentary at the end of
news programmes. It is pertinent at this point to look at various
definitions of editorial with a view to coming up with a summary of
various definitions by different authors.
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