Editorial Format

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Editorial Format
An editorial is the only type of newspaper writing that is SUBJECTIVE (biased, opinionated, non-neutral), unlike objective articles that are non-biased, neutral, lack opinion and are based solely on facts.
There are basically four types of editorials you will find in print:

  • editorial cartoons

  • editorial columns (usually the work of one author who uses a byline or photo with his/her writing.

  • editorial articles (also where byline is used to give author’s name)

  • Institutional editorials, written by a publication’s editorial board and stating the paper or organization’s stance on an issue. These types of editorials usually have no bylines and are attributed to a statement coming from the paper itself.

Editorial Format: All four of the editorial types follow this simple, basic format when written. Editorials are get to the point quickly. You can use a quote in an editorial, if you wish, but most don’t. Use one when it comes from a credible source and will support your point or stance.

Do not use “I” or “me” in your editorials.
Paragraph 1 – Introduction

States the topic you will be discussing and it is usually one or two sentences. Save your stance and supporting facts until later. As with all introductions or ledes, this should be attention-grabbing and draw the reader in.

Paragraph Two –Reaction

This is where you actually state your opinion on the topic you mentioned. It should be only one or two sentences.

Paragraph Three through Five – Supportive Arguments for your stance

These paragraphs are where you sell your opinion. You must use examples, strong facts, and details to support your stance. Each paragraph should be two or three sentences. Each paragraph contains a different argument for your opinion.

Paragraph Six – The Other Side

By making a counterargument (giving the other side), you are making your own argument stronger. Only one paragraph is needed. After you state the other side, you must then refute it. In other words, give reasons showing why that side is not valid.

Paragraph Seven – Suggestions or Solution

What do you propose to solve the issue? This should be one paragraph. Provide some options to fix the problem.

Paragraph Eight – Conclusion

End with an appeal to the readers. What do you want them or officials to do? What message do you want them to away from the editorial?


Paragraph I: Introduction

The warning labels on cigarette cartons tell the story: smoking can cause lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, premature birth and injury to babies born to smokers. Yet, despite the dangers, cigarettes are readily available in convenience stores, gas stations, and liquor stores.

Paragraph II: Reaction

Although tobacco companies may defend their products, numerous studies have shown that cigarettes are as addictive as any illegal drug and as treacherous as a drunk driver. Like those societal hazards, cigarettes should be officially outlawed.

Paragraph III: Supporting arguments and facts

Cigarette smoking is one of the leading causes of death, cancer and other disease in the United States. Just look at the statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health problems traced to cigarette smoking lead to one of every five deaths, more than HIV, illegal drugs, car accidents, suicides and murders. Smoking is blamed for the majority of lung cancer deaths among men and women, and boosts the rate of heart disease, bronchitis and emphysema.

Paragraph IV: Supporting arguments and facts

Smokers are not the only ones risking illness and death from cigarettes; second-hand smoke also kills and debilitates. A 2006 report by the U.S. Surgeon General’s office concluded that nonsmokers have a substantially increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer after being exposed to second-hand, or environmental, tobacco smoke. Many experts also trace high incidents of asthma and other respiratory ailments among children to second-hand smoke, illustrating how insidiously cigarette smoke can maim the innocent.

Paragraph V: Supporting arguments and facts

Even with clear evidence linking serious health problems to cigarettes, many smokers are unable to quit. According to the American Cancer Society, about 70 percent of smokers express a desire to stop smoking and about 40 percent try to give up cigarettes each year. However, only about four to seven percent actually manage to break the grip of cigarette addiction. The rest continue to endanger their lives and the lives of others.

Paragraph VI: The Other Side

Tobacco companies, such as Philip Morris International, have funded studies disputing the health risks associated with smoking and produce “safer” cigarettes that supposedly cut down on dangers. On its website, Philip Morris also defends the right of businesses to allow smoking in public places. Yet, even the company admits, “cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other serious diseases in smokers ...There is no such thing as a "safe" cigarette.”

Paragraph VII: Suggestions or solutions

Cigarettes are deadly; the risks are real; the benefits are non-existent. The only way to stop the danger is to stop the sale of cigarettes altogether.

Paragraph VIII: Conclusion

. It is time politicians took decisive action. It is time for cigarettes to be declared illegal.

Assignment: Write a 400-word editorial on the topic you have been assigned. The editorial should follow the attached format, and MUST include:

A strong stance on the topic: It must be clear what side you are on and what you are calling for.

Facts that back up your opinion. You MUST include sources for all your facts.

A counterargument (the other side), facts that support the counterargument, and a rebuttal that challenges the counterargument.

An ending that includes suggestions and solutions and an appeal to readers.


DO NOT USE “I” or “WE” or “YOU.”
The editorial is due by the end of class on Wednesday, Dec. 8 or Thursday, Dec. 9. You must give me a copy and you must also submit a copy to Turnitin.com.

You must also attach a copy of the outline and copies of all research/sources used in the factual reporting.
You will receive two grades:

1) Research/Reporting and Outline

2) Finished Editorial
You will be graded on clarity of writing, logic and strength of your argument, use of factual evidence to support your stand, grammar, punctuation and spelling. YOU MUST USE CORRECT AP STYLE.
Timeline for Editorial:

Friday, Dec. 3: Research your topic. Find Facts to back up your stand.
Monday, Dec. 6: Continue research. Write an outline, based on the attached Editorial Format
Tuesday, Dec. 7: Write outline. Start writing editorial.
Wed/Thursday, Dec. 8/9: Finish writing editorial. Proofread/self-edit. Turn in a copy to Ms. Rhor. Submit to Turnitin.com.
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