Op-Ed vs. Editorial: What Are the Differences?

Op-Ed vs. Editorial

Many people underestimate the influence that an editorial or an op-ed can have. Over the decades and even the centuries, the right editorial has left its mark permanently on modern culture. Some of the most popular and influential editorials were written during times of war or commented on less concrete issues like the famous editorial about whether or not there is a Santa Claus.

Of course, not everybody understands the differences between op-ed vs. editorial articles. Considering how important these articles can be, understanding the differences between them is something that everyone should learn at some point in their life.

So what exactly makes something an op-ed vs. an editorial? Read on to learn all about the differences between these types of articles and how to treat them!

Also, Read: 5 Important Tips for Moving to Spain

Importance of Understanding Op-Eds and Editorials

In the past several years, there has been a lot of lost trust in the institutions of popular media. People are spending a lot of time accusing each other and newspapers of treating as a fact what is merely an opinion.

Unfortunately, in many cases, these accusations have significant justification. As a result, trust in the newspaper as an institution has decreased.

However, it is important that we keep this problem in perspective. Sometimes newspapers present opinions as facts, but often they do not. Some people exaggerate how often newspapers make these mistakes by misunderstanding the differences between op-eds and editorial articles.

It is important to understand when a newspaper is really sticking its neck out and risking its reputation by presenting something as fact versus when it is merely expressing an opinion. Otherwise, people may hold opinions to the same standard as facts and decide that a newspaper is untrustworthy.

To understand the differences between these types of articles, we must first understand what they are.

What Is an Op-Ed?

Many people think that the term op-ed stands for opinion plus an unspecified word that starts with “ed.” The truth is that op-ed stands for opposite editorial. In other words, it literally refers simply to the fact that op-eds appear on the physical newspaper page that is opposite the page that holds the editorials.

At the same time, the idea of the op-ed as associated with opinions is somewhat reasonable. All kinds of people have written offers, including the President of the United States. In other cases, anonymous people write op-eds and newspapers agree to publish them.

As a result, it is true that op-eds are not the attempt of a newspaper to present its investigative journalism. They are not the result of a newspaper attempting to claim that something is a fact or not.

What Is an Editorial?

So does that mean that editorials are all about facts since op-eds are associated with opinions? The answer is no. In fact, it is more correct to think of both types of articles as different types of opinions.

The main thing that any quality editorial guide will focus on is that editorial are opinion articles that express the ideas of the editorial board. In other words, some of the top writers and editors at the newspaper are signing their names to the opinion expressed in an editorial. An editorial will have also gone through the post production process of the newspaper.

How to Treat Op-Eds

Most of our op-ed tips focus on how to interpret the content in op-eds. Because they are opinion pieces, it is important to treat them as such.

It is also important to focus on whose opinion you are dealing with when you read an op-ed. An op-ed will generally express the opinion of an author or writer who is not on the editorial board.

As we have discussed, even the President of the United States has sometimes written an op-ed. That means that you should judge a newspaper even less by the content of their op-eds. After all, the opinions expressed in them are not necessarily the opinions of any single person working at a newspaper.

Does that mean that you should not judge a newspaper at all by the op-eds they publish? Not exactly. After all, somebody at the newspaper still made a judgment call to publish an op-ed.

If you disagree very strongly with an op-ed, you have to think about why the newspaper might’ve decided to publish it anyway. Maybe they are somewhat sympathetic to the ideas expressed in the op-ed. Or maybe they disagree but are strong believers in the importance of diversity of thought.

How to Treat Editorials

Just as with our op-ed tips, it is important to treat editorials as opinions. They do not represent a newspaper’s highest standard of rigor. They do not present the results of the newspaper’s best investigative journalism.

Rather, they are simply an expression of the opinions of some of the writers and editors of the newspaper. If you read an editorial and believe that you see something false in it, keep in mind that this does not mean that the newspaper is lying.

It does not mean that the newspaper does not report the facts free of bias. It simply means that you are reading the section of the newspaper dedicated to opinions rather than to news.

Understand the Differences Between Op-Ed vs. Editorial Articles

We hope learning about op-ed vs. editorial articles has been helpful for you. Many people do not appreciate the differences between these articles and end up misinterpreting them frequently. Unfortunately, that can give them the wrong idea about what is fact and what is opinion.

Newspapers continue to be one of the most powerful tools for distributing information and knowledge. Understanding how to properly interpret them is an important life skill. To learn more about news and technology, check out our other articles!