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Editorial Writing: Three Core Formats

By Earl Victor L. Rosero, veteran journalist and campus journalism advocate


For young and newbie writers of editorials, I prescribe three core formats that will help them acquire
clarity, unity and cohesionkey qualities or hallmarks of good writing.
The 3 Cores have the same patterns or templates at the beginning and at the end, but have different
contents at the middle. Different to suit particular topics, situations and writing abilities.
START Using two concise and clear sentences (preferably simple sentences, but sometimes
compound, complex and compound-complex), express your News Peg and your Stand/Position. Be
specific, authoritative and assertive.
One sentence for the News Peg (the event or thing that happened that makes you write the editorial)
and one sentence for your Stand.
Anyone can give an opinion and criticize, but few can take a stand and use that to convince others to a
particular point of view, perspective or course of action.
The editorial writer is not any ordinary or average citizen. The editorial writer has the power of
influence and that power must be wielded wisely. The editorial of the editorial writer must be above the
average or ordinary. Be bold. Be authoritative. Be facts and evidence-based.
END Using another pair of concise and clear sentences, state (in one sentence) your BEST
ARGUMENT and (in the second sentence) you CALL TO ACTION (what you want your
addressee/reader/audience to do after convincing them of the soundness, necessity and importance of
your stand.
There you have the two pieces of bread of your sandwich. Now, for the sanwiched.
BODY 1 Reveal in organized fashion the history or background or key past events, top supporting
information, and major and minor arguments justifying the Stand you expressed at the start of your
editorial. Organized fashion means chronological, thematic, spatial, or relationship order.
BODY 2 Lay out the PROS and CONS of the arguments relevant to the Stand. Then WEIGH the
pros and the cons according to some objective benchmarks like the ones Rotarians use or strive to abide
by: Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
You can also use just one benchmark like THE LAW or PUBLIC POLICY or the NATIONAL
INTEREST.
BODY 3 With this format, present OPTIONS or ALTERNATIVES that can address or solve the
problem expressed in the News Peg + Stand. Present only up to three top options. Then after presenting
the options, EVALUATE them as to how they can be implemented effectively and efficiently given
limited resources of TIME, PEOPLE, FUNDS, and LOGISTICS.