Thoughtful Editorials

Session Title — Writing Editorials with speed, precision and, oh yes, thought
Session Speaker — Chuck Baldwin of University of South Dakota

Overview — An editorial should be concise, direct and clear.  And that’s what we had to do under 60 seconds.  Baldwin gave us a topic, ranging from our university president being found in bed with a live boy and dead girl to alumni associations giving money to the football coach to pay off players, and we had under 60 seconds to write a powerful first bit of an editorial and read it aloud.

Here were his suggestions:

  • students agonize over and take to long to write an editorial
  • students waste time thinking to what to write when the time should be spent on figuring out the argument
  • a stand on an issue must be made, and early in the editorial
  • no first person
  • be direct
  • active friends are your verbs, “they are so good they could be your lover”
  • an editorial should also have a nut graf and it should be tweetable
  • need to have a call to action


My take — It was difficult to write a well thought out editorial under a time limit but it was certainly useful to try.  And after working as an editorial page intern this summer and gaining an interest in editorials, the session confirmed what I believed about editorials.  And it is my hope to establish an editorial board at The Pendulum, and Baldwin said he would love to talk to me and discuss helping establish one.


— Anna Johnson


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