If nothing else, the experience of writing editorials will teach you that everyone has an opinion about something.
Try as you might to compose a well-reasoned, coherent and convincing editorial, you will undoubtedly draw some responses you didn’t anticipate: letters to the editor or crank calls or hate mail.
But isn’t that the point of an editorial-to make the public think about a subject and elicit some response? The role of the editorial in influencing public opinion has been studied by professionals and academics alike.
As more is learned about how the public reacts to editorials, editorial writers (and those who suggest editorial topics) are changing their approach. It used to be that editors thought their editorials would cause significant change.
That isn’t true today Research studies and there are many of them-Indicate that compared to the news, sports and feature pages, editorials have relatively low readership.
Other media, not just other parts of the paper, compete for the public’s attention. The old lament from politicians and other public figures that a single editorial could ruin them is not heard so often today as it was during the muckraking era of the 1880s and ’90s.
All of this is not to denigrate the importance of the editorial page. For despite its low readership and sometimes inane or turgid content, the editorial page remains a bastion for expression of opinions and ideas.
While editorials don’t exert immediate impact on a majority of the public, they are influential in what has been termed “agenda-setting,” establishing for the public the importance of topics. Agenda-setting helps give the public a syllabus, a list of things to think about. The more a subject is brought before the public, the more it begins to take on meaning and importance.
Ethics for editorial writers includes not only presenting facts accurately, but refraining from propaganda. The opinion presented should be the best judgment you as a writer can make from a thorough investigation.
To produce a piece without adequate information is to jeopardize the credibility of the medium’s news as well. Main Points
• The mass media express opinions and judgments in reviews and editorials.
* Reviews can range in subject from opera through restaurants, but they have these characteristics in common: they should inform with fact. give some idea of content and express an opinion about quality.
* Reviewers must have background in the subjects they critique. Expressing an opinion without supportive detail is unfair to the audience and to the artist.
• Although print reviews are the more common, the electronic media, especially television, are giving the audience more critiques than in the past. Editorials represent an institutional point of view. The editorial stance is determined by management rather than the individual writer. Editorials have particular purposes: among these are commending, condemning, persuading and entertaining.
The editorial has three essential units: a lead, which specifies at the topics; a body, which presents options, alternative~ or possible conclusions; and a clincher, which makes clear the course of action recommended. In all cases, recommendations should be supported by examples ditty illustrations that are logical and coherent. Careful attention must be given to clarity and brevity.
Long editorials turn the audience away. Research studies indicate that individual editorials have little direct effect on audience opinion. Rather, the long range effect of editorials seems to be that of agenda setting Letting the public know what issues are important .