Editorials convey important ideas

Welcome to the Northern Star Editorial, where you can find editorials on a regular basis. There is a distinction between an opinion column and an editorial, and we are here to clarify the difference. In doing so, we hope to provide insight into how we fill this space and why.

Editorials were first created in 1841 when Horace Greeley developed the “Opinion Page” of the New York Tribune, according to the Center for News Literacy.

Editorials were intended to be, and still are, columns representing a news organization’s opinion. They are signed by the editorial board as a whole to signify it is not the opinion of one person alone, but the entire organization.

An editorial board is made up of the editors at a news organization. In the Northern Star’s case, there are 10 people on the Editorial Board. The board determines what topics are selected for an editorial and what the opinion of the organization is.

During weekly meetings, the opinion editor brings forth news topics worthy of editorializing. Worthiness is determined based on timeliness, impact and strength. The editorial ideas must be relevant, have a strong influence and contain sufficient facts to back up a solid opinion. It is also possible to decide there is no topic worthy of editorializing, in which case the board chooses to skip a week and wait until there is a more pressing topic.

Once a topic is determined, board members discuss how they feel about the topic, often representing each side of the argument. Board members will then take a vote on the topic, and the opinion receiving the most votes is chosen as the opinion of the editorial board.

Since we have an even number of board members at the Star, one person is randomly recused from each vote to ensure there is no tie. Editorials always need to represent the majority opinion, as it is signed by the whole board and backed by the entire organization.

Editorials are an important tradition in journalism that still serve a purpose today. They often offer guidance to a community and give a voice to topics the news organization believes people should care about. They are written with immense care, and each editor will take part in making sure the editorials represent a collective voice.

Editorials have a sacred place in the news industry, and the Northern Star treats them with the utmost importance.

We hope that you return to this page to read our editorials.