Defining the opinion section, an important reminder

By Staff Editorial

A local editorial page editor once said it’s a good idea to occasionally remind readers about the differences in the types of opinion pieces in a newspaper.

This editor also said that even when the “OPINION” is atop the page in bold, black typeface, there’s always somebody who gets upset, thinking that because there is opinion in a newspaper that the entire paper is biased.

You see this when people talk about the Detroit News and Free Press. The News is considered conservative, the Press is seen as liberal, because of their editorials.

The Oakland Post is unique — our opinion pages are called “Perspectives.” There isn’t a set of positions The Post takes on political issues. We are not the Democratic or Republican caucus. The Post has less reason to editorialize political issues that could classify it as left or right wing.

Our focus is on the Oakland University community: its students, faculty, alumni, administration and staff.

The editorial board does not set an agenda at the beginning of every year. But we do scrutinize every situation to decide what direction The Post should give to the OU community.

So when we editorialize on an issue on this page, we write about issues that other news outlets are not paying attention to, or might not see the same way as we do.

Our editorials are always on this page. They are unsigned opinions by one of the editorial board members listed at right, all students and Post staff.

The editorial serves as our expert opinion on the topics the newsroom covers. We appeal to reason, try to look at all the facts, and often do reporting independent from what the reporter does for the related story. It is our policy to avoid having the reporter be a part of the editorial process, except to provide background information.

We do not criticize just because it makes for a snarky editorial. We attempt to always provide solutions to the ills we see, or suggestions on how to make a situation better. Sometimes there’s a need to simply point out a situation that smells suspicious. Sometimes, we just want to explain something more thoroughly than could be done through outside sources in an article.

The staff editorial is the official stance of The Post. But there are other types of opinion pieces found in the Perspectives section that are not. For instance, cartoons, when we have them, are not representative of the staff or editorial board’s views and opinions.

Neither are letters to the editor, which are sent in by readers usually in response to a previous column, staff editorial or news article. The mini-version of the letter to the editor is now the Facebook comment to the article link or a comment on the website.

Columns are opinion pieces by a single author, usually a reflection on a current issue somewhere in the world, usually relevant to student life. Columnists usually use data to back up their opinion, but sometimes it’s just a thoughtful opinion with nothing to back it up but ideas and an argument.

Most of the opinion in this paper is found in Perspectives. But there are occasionally columns and reviews in more fitting sections. Like sports columns will go in the sports section, clearly labeled. And movie reviews will go in the Scene section, labeled as well.

The only other place you should find opinion in this newspaper is in Mouthing Off. Perhaps we take it for granted that most people realize that this section exists solely to satirize anything, from the strike to breast cancer.

The Post is proud to serve as a forum for the voices of the OU community, from funny-not-so-serious to a fresh perspective.

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