People often ask us or comment on Facebook: What's the difference between a news story and an opinion piece?
We believe in the importance of accurate reporting as we strive to inform readers about what's happening in our community with watchdog journalism and hyperlocal news.
But news outlets publish more than just news.
Radio broadcasts hourly news reports with just facts and discussion from "talking heads" giving opinions. TV has regular news segments and personality-driven opinion shows. Newspapers publish news stories with facts, but also have editorials and columns with opinions.
The News-Capital works hard to ensure our stories don't contain our opinion — as the saying goes "just the facts." But it is important that we help explain the difference between news stories and opinion pieces.
News stories detail things happening in our community and often include quotes from people most familiar with the subject matter. Sometimes we include quotes from others expressing their opinions — which do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the News-Capital. News stories appear on every page of the print and online editions of the newspaper — except for the opinion page.
Our editorials only appear on the opinion page and reflect the opinion of the paper on certain issues and topics with facts from our staff's reporting. We also label editorials with "OUR VIEW" to let people know the link they click or piece they're reading is an opinion of the newspaper. Our editorials most often fall under the following three categories: 1) watchdog: holding public officials accountable; 2) public service: information to keep public safe, warn against scams, and more; 3) celebratory: congratulating individuals, groups for things they’ve done.
Everyone has a right to form and express opinions — and we will continue to defend your right to freedom of speech, including when you disagree with us.
Letters to the editor present an opportunity for anyone to submit an opinion — or question, comment, concern — for consideration to be published. Letters must be no more than 500 words; signed by the author; include the author’s hometown; include a daytime telephone number (which will not be published, but we may need to call you if we have questions about your letter).
Letters are subject to review and may be edited to conform to style and for content and clarity. We won't publish slanderous or libelous letters. Letters can be sent to Editor, P.O. Box 987, McAlester, OK 74501 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also publish, with permission, editorials from other papers in the state or those owned by CNHI, our parent company. We label editorials from other papers as "OTHER VIEWS." These editorials often reflect the opinion of the paper, but not always.
Other pieces published on the opinion page are columns, which are opinion pieces from people either on staff or the public who have specific knowledge of a certain topic. Some columns we publish come from syndicated national columnists and we strive to have political columnists from both major parties. We also have some local and regional voices providing insight and advice on topics like food, finances, and regional history. Columns do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the newspaper, but columnists we publish have detailed knowledge on the topics on which they write.
It's our duty to help you understand how we operate. Hopefully this helps, but feel free to reach out with any other questions.