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New York Times dropping 'op-eds' for 'guest essays'

The Hill logo The Hill 4/26/2021 Joseph Choi
a person standing in front of a store: New York Times dropping 'op-eds' for 'guest essays' © Getty Images New York Times dropping 'op-eds' for 'guest essays'

The New York Times will be renaming its Op-Ed page, instead calling the articles on the page "Guest Essays," reasoning that the term has become outdated in the digital age.

The Times Opinion Editor Kathleen Kingsbury explained in a piece published on Monday that opinion page articles were first called "Op-Eds" because they were printed on the opposite side of the editorial page.

Though many believed they were called "Op-Eds" because the opinions written were opposite that of the paper's, Kingsbury wrote that the true purpose of the page was to "stimulate thought and provoke discussion of public problems."

"That important mission remains the same. But it's time to change the name," Kingsbury wrote. "The reason is simple: In the digital world, in which millions of Times subscribers absorb the paper's journalism online, there is no geographical 'Op-Ed,' just as there is no geographical 'Ed' for Op-Ed to be opposite to. It is a relic of an older age and an older print newspaper design."

Kingsbury celebrated the long history of the Op-Ed page, recalling a quote from one her predecessors, former New York Times journalist John B. Oakes who helped create the opinion page:

"Diversity of opinion is the lifeblood of democracy. ... The minute we begin to insist that everyone think the same way we think, our democratic way of life is in danger."

"A half century ago, Times editors made a bet that readers would appreciate a wider range of opinion," Kingsbury added. "We are making much the same bet, but at a time when the scales of opinion journalism can seem increasingly tilted against the free and the fair, the sober and honest. We work every day to correct that imbalance."

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