The New York Times announced Monday it will drop the term ‘op-ed’ from its pages — calling it “clubby newspaper jargon” that no longer makes sense given the way stories are placed online.
The Old Gray Lady’s opinion pages will simply refer to columns by the paper’s staff writers and editorial board as editorials and pieces by external contributors as “guest essays.”
Kathleen Kingsbury, head opinion editor, wrote, “The first Op-Ed page in The New York Times greeted the world on Sept. 21, 1970. It was so named because it appeared opposite the editorial page… In the digital world… there is no geographical ‘Op-Ed,’ just as there is no geographical ‘Ed’ for Op-Ed to be opposite to.”
Kingsbury noted how opinion and news both use the same base nytimes.com URL — and that understanding ‘op-ed’ required prior knowledge of journalism and a newspaper’s so-called church and state structure. The “guest essay” label, she hoped, would be more immediately informative.
“Terms like Op-Ed are, by their nature, clubby newspaper jargon; we are striving to be far more inclusive in explaining how and why we do our work,” she said.
The move comes on the heels of a year of controversy over the opinion pages. Its former editor, James Bennett, resigned in June after fury erupted over an essay by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) titled “Send in the Troops.”
Editorial assistant Adam Rubenstein and columnist Bari Weiss quit in the months after Bennett left.