Thursday, May 16, 2013

How did the Op-Ed Page get its name? What is its purpose? And how are the Op-Ed articles different from the editorials?

Trust the New York Times, one of the world's great newspapers, to have all the answers, and more.

We learn from a column in the paper written by Ed Shipley, who was then the Op-Ed Page editor, that the inaugural Op-Ed Page appeared on September 21, 1970, and that it was named for its geography opposite the editorial page not because opinions would be expressed in its columns.

A page of clashing opinions, however, was the aim from the beginning. According to an editorial introducing the page, Op-Ed was created to provide a forum for writers with ''no institutional connection with The Times'' — writers whose views would ''very frequently be completely divergent from our own.'' 

Media students and aspiring journalists will discover some fascinating stuff about the newspaper production process if they read Shipley's column here: "And Now a Word from Op-Ed".


There's more. Some 18 months after he published the essay discussed above, Shipley wrote one more column, this time answering readers' questions about the editing process. (The earlier column, as noted, focused on the submission and selection process.) This is just as fascinating to read as the previous piece. Read it here: "What We Talk About When We Talk About Editing".
  • ALSO READ: How does the New York Times editorial board work? How are topics chosen for the editorials? What is the process by which the paper's editorial writers craft their editorials? Is it by committee? Do the reporters have any input? Who decides the final draft? Read the answer to all these questions in Editorial Page editor Andrew Rosenthal's Q&A column here (scroll down to "How the Editorial Board Works" on Page 5).
DNA does a U-turn and brings back the Edit Page

Why subs, or copy editors, are the lifeblood of a news organisation

What we can learn about editing from the Reader's Digest

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