Editorials provoke while articles inform
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 18:09
Adolf Hitler was not a bad person.
That sentence is not a fact, it is an opinion. Some readers might agree, while some might disagree. If the Editorial Board of Cardinal Points agreed with that sentence, which we do not, this is the section of the paper that we would say that in.
This is the editorial, a weekly column in the Opinions section of Cardinal Points where the Editorial Board decides on a topic that we would like to express our views on. While the other pages of the paper are devoted to presenting the facts of a topic or event, the Opinions section is where the staff of Cardinal Points can write about their personal feelings on a subject.
This column is not a news story. News stories present facts about a topic and let readers draw their own conclusions. Editorials present facts about a topic to try and argue a specific viewpoint. Editorials are not written to present the whole story. Editorials are meant to present a specific side of an argument and reasons to agree or disagree with that side.
As long as the words “CP Opinions” are at the top of the page, readers should understand that our writers are not reporting but, instead, writing about their own personal feelings.
The same can be said for our editorials. By arguing that Hitler was a good person, our editorial is not reporting that as a fact. Instead, we are trying to make our audience consider a different viewpoint. What if Hitler really was a good person? You don’t have to agree, you just have to think about it.
However, we sometimes receive feedback saying that we spread lies to our audience through an editorial. By writing that Hitler was a good person, some readers believe we are trying to say that our view on the issue is the only correct view. Again, this is not what an editorial is made for.
An editorial is made to start conversations, not discourage them. Stopping people from sharing their opinions is the opposite of what an editorial is meant to do. We are not saying that we know the truth, we are saying that this is what we believe and we would like you to think about our viewpoint.
We would also like to hear your thoughts on our weekly topics. We encourage any readers who agree or disagree with our editorial, even this editorial, to write to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what you believe.
Before the internet, newspapers were the traditional way to get ideas out to a large group of people. Before Facebook posts and Twitter tweets, the town newspaper was the best way for people to start important conversations.
So send in letters to the editor, post an online comment and let your voice be heard, but understand that we are working to encourage, not discourage, that conversation.
Was Hitler a good person? What do you think?