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Newspaper Editor

Who is editor of this newspaper?
How do you evaluate the competence of a newspaper editor?
What are the duties of a newspaper editor?
What does a newspaper editor do?
What resources does a newspapers editor need?
What should be the skills and knowledge of a newspaper editor?
What's the difference between a reporter, editor, and columnist?
What do labels such as "News Analysis" or "Commentary" mean when I see them in an article?
How do you describe the editorial page?
What's the "op-ed" page?

What's the difference between a reporter, editor, and columnist?
A reporter gathers facts and information on an event of public interest and then presents them in a readable style to inform the reader. The reporter is supposed to provide objective observation about events that editors deem newsworthy. Reporters are often assigned to "beats," or particular areas, such as _____, __________, __________, or education.

Sometimes reporters don't write the stories they cover. For example, a reporter at the scene of a story occasionally must dictate the material by telephone to another reporter who writes it in the newsroom to meet the deadline for the next day's issue.

An editor serves many functions. While specific responsibilities may differ according to title or newspaper, an editor may do one or more of the following: assign reporters, decide which news events to cover, edit (revise) reporters' stories, decide what stories get published, determine where each story will be placed in the paper, write headlines, and select photographs for the paper. At larger papers, each section (e.g., Business) has one or more editors responsible for the content of that section.

A columnist gives opinions, usually his or her own. A columnist is expected to gather accurate information, just as a reporter does, and then comment on that information. A columnist has more latitude and license than a reporter and is not constrained by the rule of impartiality that governs news writing. While they are subject to the editing and approval of one or more editors, columnists can write just about what they please, as long as it remains within the boundaries of good taste and public acceptability, as defined by the paper.

A political (or editorial) cartoonist also gives opinions, but rather than do it with words, he or she does it with cartoons.

What do labels such as "News Analysis" or "Commentary" mean when I see them in an article?

Basic news writing should provide the facts and an objective report of a particular event - the "who, what, when, where, why, and how. " To provide more background to the reader, however, editors allow and encourage writers in certain cases to go beyond basic news writing. Here are some labels and what they mean.

News Analysis is an essay with a central theme that goes beyond facts and statements attributable to sources. It provides interpretations that add to a reader's understanding of a subject. A news analysis does not report the news. It discusses the news in a style more literary than a news story, and it is usually a "sidebar," a related story placed to the side of the main story. It is intended to interpret, explore motives, discuss consequences, point out inconsistencies, explain purpose, and provide perspective. It is not intended to be the reporter's or the paper's position or opinion.

Its author should be an experienced writer with expertise on the subject to assure the reader will be given a competent analysis of that subject.

Commentary is written by a columnist and is so labeled to differentiate it from the author's regular column.

Reporter's Notebook is a collection of anecdotes, vignettes, or tidbits that a reporter collects while covering a story. These items, though, are considered less important and so don't appear in the main news story. Rather than discard the items, however, a reporter will offer them together as a "notebook".

Profile in the News is a sidebar or companion piece to a main news story about a particular person. It contains the views of others about the person being profiled, rather than an interview with the subject. It is intended to give the reader a picture of the individual's character, experience or personal traits not part of the main story.

Explainer is an article that describes how things work, with no analysis or interpretation included.

Essay is a label rarely used. It describes a piece written by a reporter who is not necessarily reporting on a specific event, but is rather writing about his or her observations or perspectives on a particular issue.

How do you describe the editorial page?

The editorial page contains several elements, including, as the name suggests, the editorials - the opinions or positions of the newspaper on major issues of local or national public policy, such as pending legislation or social or political issues.

The page also carries the daily political cartoon - the opinion of the cartoonist - and the letters to the editor - the opinions of our readers. The page also lists the names and titles of the paper's senior executives and editors.

What's the "op-ed" page?

"Op-ed" is short for "opposite editorial," meaning the page is physically opposite the editorial page. This page carries opinion columns about major news events and current topics.