Wednesday, 21 October 2020

a journalistic backronym

Like the invented term for a supplement covering trifles and “The Talk of the Town” feuilleton—from the French diminutive little leaf and since in circulation for periodicals, it’s a little unmooring but expected in the parlance of jargon and general wonkiness to learn that Op-Ed did not refer to the Opinions and Editorial page as is the general convention but rather the pagination—that is, the verso, opposite of the editorials. The facing section landing typically opinions of authors not affiliated with the publication’s board of editors, distinct from their opinion pieces and letters to the editor submitted by readers. First formalised in the pages of The New York Evening World by journalist Herbert Bayard Swope Senior, member of the Algonquin Round Table and first recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for reporting, realising the page was sort of a catchall for society coverage and obituaries, specifically reserving the space for salacious solicitations, though confined to employees of the paper. The first Op-Ed page occurred in the 21 September 1970 edition of The New York Times.