Editorialising

I like my news to be news. For opinions, there are hundreds of blogs – each with no less credibility than some random journalist. I couldn’t care less. Sometimes I just want news, tell me what happened, be dry, be real. Don’t editorialize. I don’t want to hear what you think, you are not important. Honestly. I can form my own opinion, my mind is capable of thought, and I don’t like being told what to think. Really, neutral reporting and interesting reporting aren’t mutually exclusive. If something is exciting, it will be.

Let’s see, I get three newspapers, so I got to see how different they are. Three headlines (and lets leave out any talk about lack of originality), The Hindu reported that Benazir Bhutto had been killed, The New Indian Express and Deccan Chronicle had their headlines telling me that a hope had died. Sloppy, that tells me nothing until I read the article. Matter of fact, the former has more impact. It’s a problem with Indian newspapers, TNIE can’t describe the BJP or the CPI(M) without making it an opinion piece, DC likes celebrities too much and The Hindu has real trouble relaying bad news about the so-called Left parties.

See, I have nothing against editorialising per se, but why mark an editorial as news? You have those center pages, marked Editorial, or those other pages marked Opinion. Put everything there. Call everything an editorial. Let’s have some honesty please. And while you’re about it, those Opinion pieces, try to write some good ones. The only interesting opinion pieces in a newspaper here are a few in The Hindu and the ones taken from the NYT or the Guardian or some other foreign newspaper. TNIE thinks inflammatory articles must be good, by default, so they print utter rubbish with little facts and lots of errors. And most of The Hindu articles have this air of I’m-the-venerable-old-colonel all over them — stuck-up.

Really, I’m beginning to think that those people who read only the comics, they’re the smart ones.

10 thoughts on “Editorialising

  1. reminds me of this citizen journalist and constant advertisment of their blogs on cnn ibn news channel. i couldnt agree with you more, they are mixing their opinions with real facts.
    damn georgie you hit the nail right in the head, this article deserves to be printed out. /me clicks

  2. Putting just facts on papers would read like a boring history textbook. The paper is supposed to use the opinion of people qualified to give the same to provide a better understanding of the issue to the average citizen reading the paper.

  3. Well most newspapers are aligned towards some political party so you can’t really say that they provide a better understanding of the issue. Its more like they are spreading their propaganda. Same goes for the news channels.

  4. Marc: I disagree. News is meant to be objective, editorials can be opinions. Benazir Bhutto’s assassination is interesting whether or not the reporter expresses her opinion on it. Russia raising gas prices for Ukraine to market level is interesting whether or not the reporter expresses her opinion on it (supplementary information about recent events involving both Russia and Ukraine is okay).

    Newspapers are meant to convey news. Journals/magazines are supposed to provide informed opinion.

    Adithya: Unfortunately yes, I agree. Even more unfortunate is that they’re unlikely to get far without such support.

  5. George read this:

    “Russia today raised gas prices for Ukraine alone. Since we are not allowed to give our opinions and there is no official reason supplied for this, you will simply have to guess what the reasons might be.”

    Noting that the previous wars and disagreements might have something to do with it is an opinion. Predicting the economic changes in Ukraine because of this is an opinion.

  6. I admire your rhetorical skills, but you’re not listening.

    Here is a decent example: Russia-Ukraine gas row heats up. That article is interesting, hardly a history text book. Note how any statements are quotes. There is a difference between:

    This irresponsible and legally ignorant announcement is aimed at escalating tension in Russian-Ukrainian relations and undermines Europe’s trust in Ukraine as a transit country.

    and

    “This irresponsible and legally ignorant announcement is aimed at escalating tension in Russian-Ukrainian relations and undermines Europe’s trust in Ukraine as a transit country,” a Gazprom statement said.

    in the context of the article. The former is editorialising, the latter is quoting. This is quite clear if you read a couple of the TNIE’s front-pagers on Modi’s election.

    EDIT: In fact, most of what I mean is covered by Wikipedia’s NOR policy.

  7. That isn’t what I’m talking about. That example is just the article failing to attribute the source of the data. However if it were written by an expert in the subject and not a standard reporter he could make that statement.

  8. And that is exactly what the Op-Ed section is for. That is why it is called Op-Ed and not News. Any sensible newspaper makes that distinction and even the insensible ones will mark the Editorials.

  9. So you want all articles to be written by journalists in a neutral tone (and one editorial). All the journalists will resign of boredom and the readers will stop buying it, unless they are all above 40 years of age (like with The Hindu) and use the paper instead of sleeping pills.

    No paper works like this nor will they ever. It’s simply too boring just to read facts.

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