Editorial Components


  • A glance at the launch page for New York Times editorials shows clearly the opinionated nature of an editorial.

Editorial 1

  • It’s perfectly acceptable, perhaps even necessary, for the editors to assert specific and blunt assessments that would be inappropriate for journalists to express.

Editorial 2

  • Editorials begin with judgment and add evidence merely to provide confirmation for decisions the editors have already made. Therefore, it’s not a meaningful refutation of an editorial to complain, “They didn’t cite enough evidence.”

Editorial 3

  • Look for the language of judgment in these headlines. “Drown out,” “Bluster,” “Blink”: such loaded words would be inappropriate in most news story headlines, but for editorials, they deliver the nuance of opinion that signals the editors’ point of view before the first word of text.

Editorial 4

  • Look also for the language of ethical imperatives: “Owes,” “Can’t,” “Must,” “Shouldn’t,” “Obligated.” Editorials give advice; they urge; they prompt; they recommend; they attempt to compel action at best, or at worst a change of heart.

Editorial 5.

  • Now look at the teaser text. How many powerful claims are evident in this single sentence?: The journalist’s savage murder exposed Saudi Arabia’s ruler as an enemy of a free press. His legacy should not stop there. Name those claims.

Editorial 6

  • What will we find in Editorials that takes the place of the evidence that would be essential in a news article? In other words, what are the essential components of an Editorial?

Editorial 7

  • Clearly not every editorial headline contains Ethical Imperatives. This one, for example, is not imperative at all, but informational. Discuss why the editors would devote their most valuable real estate (measured in column-inches) to sharing information.

Editorial 8

  • I believe this Headline/Tease, which appears to be informational, does in fact contain an Ethical Imperative. What judgment are the editors making here? Phrase their claim in a sentence or two.

Editorial 9

  • What sort of judgment is made by calling someone deceitful? There’s very little most readers of the New York Times can do to stop Boris Johnson from further endangering the British government, but is there an analogy to be made here that explains the editors’ interest?

Editorial 10




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