What Is The Purpose Of An Editorial?

The Purpose Of An Editorial

A long time ago, during the early years of the American rule in the Philippines, American authorities forced a Filipino-owned newspaper to shut down. The newspaper owner and editor were sentenced to jail. They were also ordered to pay an American official the amount of ₱ 60,000.00. The reason: an editorial believed to be libelous.
Why do writers write an editorial?

Since that time, many similar incidents have happened. A newspaper would publish an editorial; next day, it would find itself involved in a court case.

Why the editorial? The answer is simple: the editorial serves as the "conscience" of a newspaper. It speaks for what it considers right and true. It stands for what the newspaper itself believes in.

An editorial has a general function. It guides the public to think of public issues. It gives its readers food for thought. It makes them study and analyze the events happening around them.

At times an editorial merely seeks to inform its readers. It analyzes a current topic of interest and significance. It presents to its readers the good and bad sides of the topic. It gives them additional information that they may not know about it. By giving the complete picture of the issue, it encourages the readers to make a personal stand. In a way, it seems to say: Here are the good and the bad points. Weigh them for yourself. Make your own stand.

At other times, however, the editorial takes a  definite stand. It criticizes a present issue. It points out its defects or its harmful effects. It may also praise an issue. It presents to the readers the merits of a particular project. When the editorial presents its stand on an issue, it aims to convince people to take the same stand. It persuades them to take a line of action. It says: We think this is the better way. We should all do this then.

How does one determine the purpose of an editorial? The secret is to read the editorial carefully. These guides questions can also help:
  1. Does the editorial present both sides of the issue?
  2. Does it criticize a wrong done?
  3. Does it argue in favor of an issue?
  4. Does it persuade readers to take a line of action?
  5. Does it state definite opinions?
  6. Does it make specific suggestions?
  7. Does the suggestions appear to be workable?

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