Of all the stale, rusty old traditions that are
part of a daily newspaper, perhaps none look as "worn around the edges" as the
editorial and op-ed pages.
There is hardly a paper on the face of the earth that doesn't follow the same old formula, you know the one, unsigned editorials that speak in the newspaper's "institutional voice"; a cartoon or two; letters to the editor; and, on the right-hand page, signed pieces by the paper's staff columnists and from a few syndicated services. Even the design of these pages is virtually the same from paper to paper....
Well, it's time to "eliminate the editorial page," according to Timothy Noah on Slate.com. He says that editorials aren't expressions of a papers voice because they are produced by a team of writers. Nor does the editorial page represent the opinions of the papers owner- in the US for example, the Tribune Company might have one opinion in its flagship, the Chicago Tribune, and the opposite in its subsidiary, the LA Times. What's more, the genre has "built in defects." It lacks sufficient length to make a convincing arguement, instead settling for a boring "timidity" or irresponsible "posturing." So the opinion page- usually found opposite- is a "thousand times more compelling." These longer articles display the "quirky intelligence" that comes from a single persons opinion.
The opinion editor could always weigh in with a special editorial several times a yeay and "it's meare appearance would be something of an occasion." But this probably won't happen soon, because editorial page editors would have to eliminate their own jobs. And if a publisher tried, they'd be accused of doing it "to dumb down the nespaper".
It's a compelling arguement, but the real reason to dump the page is because nobody wants to read editorials anyway. I would much rather read "democratised content" that is available via weblogs andcomments sections whereby people can weigh in with their opinions, corrections, reactions and long-winded, angry ramblings.