Here are my notes from an “editorials” workshop:
Writing Editorials with Speed, Precision and, Oh yes, Thought
- Are not written in first person. Why? Because NO ONE cares what you think
Ex. Hypothetical situation: Suppose the president of your school was found in bed with a live boy and a dead woman. What’s the headline? The best headline would be “Fire Him”.
- Be direct–There is so much opinion that people turn away from editorials out of disgust
Editorials about athletics–Hypothetical situation: It is rumored that the Board of Directors at your school raises money and pays the coach of the football team to pay his players. Yes or no?
- What is your position? Should be clear–“Set up: Students aren’t paid to go to class, so neither should college athletes be paid to play…”
Editorials about Secrecy–Hypothetical situation: A student has committed suicide on campus in one of the buildings. There has been no mention of this from either the administration or any of the teachers.
- Headline: “Secrecy kills”
- Use direct sentences
- Talk about the issue
- Active verbs are your friends (was vs. is)
- Do not use question leads unless you answer them in the next sentence.
- Don’t sugarcoat in editorials; don’t be wishy-washy
Academics–Hypothetical situation: The administration has decided to combine the Philosophy department and the Foreign language
- Editorials can’t use namecalling often because it will lose its impact
- Sarcasm is only appropriate if it is understood
- Accusations vs. Position–> by writing this, what do you want to be the result, to happen?
- Writers should tweet the titles of the editorials before they’re published. This will help with advertising
- When writing an editorial, lead along to the end instead of stating your position at the beginning of controversial issues
- Shot editorials are better, but (with complicated issues) they must be explained fully in the editorial
- If you can’t explain the issue in one paragraph to students before the editorial, this is probably not a good subject