An op-ed piece, short for "opposite the editorial page," derives its name from originally having appeared physically opposite of the editorial page in a newspaper. Today, the term is used more widely to represent a column that represents the strong, informed, and focused opinion of the writer on an issue of relevance to a targeted audience. It is a written prose piece which expresses the opinion of an author or entity with no affiliation with the publication's editorial board.
The New York Times is often credited with developing and naming the modern op-ed page.
A theorized origin of the modern op-ed page is the "Page Op.," created in 1921 by Herbert Bayard Swope of The New York Evening World. When Swope took over as main editor in 1920, he opted to designate a page opposite letters from editorial staff as "a catchall for book reviews, society boilerplate, and obituaries". He wrote:
It occurred to me that nothing is more interesting than opinion when opinion is interesting, so I devised a method of cleaning off the page opposite the editorial, which became the most important in America ... and thereon I decided to print opinions, ignoring facts.
With the development of and subsequent availability of new forms of information access and distribution through radio and television broadcasting, stakeholders and print journalism workers sought to increase or maintain their audience and relevance. According to the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, major newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post began including more opinionated journalism, adding more columns and increasing the extent of their opinion pages to drive public participation and readership.
The "modern" op-ed page was developed in 1970 under the direction of The New York Times editor John B. Oakes. The first op-ed page of The New York Times appeared on 21 September 1970.
Media scholar Michael J. Socolow writes of Oakes' innovation:
The Times' effort synthesized various antecedents and editorial visions. Journalistic innovation is usually complex, and typically involves multiple external factors. The Times' op-ed page appeared in an era of democratizing cultural and political discourse and of economic distress for the company itself. The newspaper's executives developed a place for outside contributors with space reserved for sale at a premium rate for additional commentaries and other purposes.
The influence of op-ed pages in shaping public opinion and policy has been widely noted.
Possible conflicts of interest
The various connections between op-eds, editors, and funding from interest groups have raised concern. In 2011, in an open letter to The New York Times, a group of U.S. journalists and academics called for conflict of interest transparency in op-eds.
- ^ Smith, Brian. "Op-Ed? Editorial? What do all these terms really mean?". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2023-04-07.
- ^ "Definition of op-ed". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
- ^ a b Socolow, Michael J. (2010). "A Profitable Public Sphere: The Creation of the New York Times Op-Ed Page". Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. University of Maine.
- ^ Citation needed.
- ^ Meyer, K. (1990). Pundits, poets, and wits. New York: Oxford University Press.
- ^ Swope, H. B. as quoted in Meyer, K. (1990). Pundits, poets, and wits. New York: Oxford University Press, p. xxxvii.
- ^ "'Journalism'". Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. 2010.[permanent dead link]
- ^ "A press scholar explains how the New York Times op-ed page began". Slate. September 27, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- ^ Shipley, David (1 February 2004). "And Now a Word From Op-Ed". The New York Times.
- ^ Citation needed, otherwise examples should be added or section should be cut.
- ^ "US journalists launch campaign for 'op-ed transparency'". The Guardian. October 11, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- ^ "Journos call for more transparency at New York Times op-ed page". Columbia Journalism Review. October 6, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- "What we talk about when we talk about editing". The New York Times. July 31, 2005. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
- A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human? - the first op-ed completely written by an artificial intelligence (AI), published in September 2020 by The Guardian
- How to Write an Op-ed or Column
- Classic Op-Ed Structure
- The Op-Ed Project
- How to Write an Op-Ed video