Just a week ago my grandfather mailed a cheque of Rs. 199 for a two year subscription of DNA (Daily News & Analysis newspaper). So I was pretty much shocked and distressed to find out that they have gotten rid of their editorial page because they think that it is no longer important as not many people read it anymore.
Instead of doing away with its edit page, DNA should have tried make it more interesting by introducing columns like ‘Swaminomics’ and ‘Times View – Counterview’ that feature in Times of India. I myself am very fond of reading the ToI editorial page and I think that apart from the unsigned editorials representing the newspaper, the opinion pieces by renowned individuals are what make the editorial page an interesting read. Even the smaller papers like ‘Free Press Journal’ and ‘The Asian Age’ have editorial pages and interesting bold editorials.
Now that the DNA editors do not have a place to express their stand, they will spread out the opinion articles all over the place and put DNA’s view on page one. In the announcement, editor Aditya Sinha says,
“This does not mean DNA will shun analysis: after all, it’s part of our title. Instead, DNA will give you more comment, spread across the paper. …. DNA is doing away with the “leaders”, the 400-word unsigned editorials. Instead, as and when a news event warrants a stand by DNA, it will appear on page 1.”
This is a really bad move because putting DNA’s stand on page one where the most important news appears blurs the line between news and views and will confuse the readers. Editorial page system is good because it leaves a very clear distinction between the two. Readers can read unbiased news coverage on all other pages and come to the edit page for views.
Lastly, the editorial page is inherently valuable. While you surely find lots of off-the-top-of-your-mind views and opinions on twitter and facebook, it is on edit pages that you see well reasoned, well researched and persuasive arguments. Even if you already have an opinion you can gain by reading an editorial about it. Many a times I have found a new argument or perspective about an issue that I already had an opinion about after reading an editorial about it.
Starting this Friday, like it or not, my family is going to be stuck with DNA for two more years so I just hope that DNA reinstates its editorial page and that they get awesome writers like Thomas Friedman, and Nicholas D. Kristof, of New York Times. The fact that their articles are regularly amongst the most read on the NYT website and that many people all around the world visit the NYT website just to read their articles shows that the age of editorials is not yet over, DNA just needs to find good people to write them!