Glossary of Terms

Newspaper

A paper that is printed and distributed usually daily or weekly and that contains news, articles of opinion, features, and advertising

Article

A piece of writing included with others in a newspaper, magazine, or other publication.

Editorial

A newspaper article that gives the opinions of the editors or publishers of the publication in which it is printed. It is not meant to represent the voice of the readers or community, only the writer and association.

Op-Ed

1. Short for “opposite the editorial page” is a page of articles usually (geographically) opposite the editorial page of a newspaper. also: a feature on such a page (like on a website, for example).

2. An op-ed, or colloquially “opinions and editorials” is a written article published by a newspaper, which expresses the opinion of an author not affiliated with the publication or editor. It is afforded more space than a Letter to the Editor, and can be submitted by any reader. Op-ed submissions can be an effective way to communicate your opinions while initiating or adding to an existing debate. Within or around 700 words. Must be signed by rightful name, no anonymous submissions or pseudonyms. Contact information should be provided with submission but will not be printed with the publication. Op-eds that anticipate news developments such as conferences, court or council decisions, local matters, or the subject of public interest are especially valuable. The publisher reserves the right to edit, condense or reject, any contribution without cause or print in-full, unedited. Submissions made to LMT should be exclusive to LMT unless officially rejected or unresponded to within ten days.

Letter to the Editor

A letter to the Editor is typically shorter than an op-ed. It’s written in direct response to an article previously published in that paper, rather than any general news topic. It’s almost always written by a reader or concerned citizen. People write letters to the editor when they’re either opposed to an article previously published or because they agree with something and want to add further information. Letters should be 250 words or thereabouts. Letters should cite the article name and date that it is referencing.

Open Letter

An open letter is a letter that is intended to be read by a wide audience or a letter intended for an individual, but that is nonetheless widely distributed intentionally. Open letters usually take the form of a letter addressed to an individual but provided to the public through newspapers and other media. Especially common are critical open letters addressed to political leaders. There are a number of reasons why an individual would choose the form of an open letter, including the following reasons:

As a last resort to ask the public to judge the letter’s recipient or others involved, often but not always, in a critical light.

  • To state the author’s position on a particular issue.
  • As an attempt to start or end a wider dialogue around an issue
  • As an attempt to focus broad attention on the letter’s recipient, prompting them to some action
  • For humour value
  • Simply to make public a communication that must take place as a letter for reasons of formality.

details: The definition of these terms is subject to change.