Analyzing an Editorial

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Questions for Analyzing an Editorial

  1. What is the publication info of your editorial? Name the author of the editorial, the title, where it was published, and the date of publication.
  2. What is the main argument of the piece? Hint: see the title!
  3. What are the most important points made?


  1. What are the writer’s credentials?
  2. How would you describe the author’s tone? Does the tone hurt or help the argument? Why?
  3. Does the author provide examples of his/her own credibility on the topic? If so, what examples? Do they help the persuasiveness of the overall argument? Why/why not?


  1. Give 4-5 examples of emotionally loaded words that the author uses. What emotion was the author trying to evoke in the audience with each of these words?
  2. Does the author use any examples meant to elicit an emotional response from the audience? If so, what are they? What emotion(s) is the author attempting to make the audience feel?


  1. Is the main claim of the argument logically sound? What about the supporting points? Does the evidence logically connect to the supporting points and overall main claim? Is the evidence taken from legitimate, credible sources? Explain.

Paper 2: Editorial Analysis

An editorial is an article in a periodical (newspaper or magazine) that provides an opinionated argument made by a writer, editor, or editorial board on a current, debatable issue. In this essay, we will analyze the persuasiveness of an argument made in an editorial. Your essay, then, will not be about the issue discussed in the editorial, but will discuss whether the argument is effective based on the author’s ethos, and use of pathos and logos.

The first step in the writing process of this assignment is to select an editorial. Look at the editorial pages of major newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post; the opinion features in magazines like Time andThe Atlantic; and in online news outlets like CNN. You should choose an editorial long and detailed enough to provide sufficient evidence for your analysis.

Essay Structure

The first paragraph of your essay will provide an overview of the issue discussed in your editorial without referring to the editorial. It should open with a hook to grab the reader’s attention, and then tell why the issue is relevant and what makes the issue debatable.

The second paragraph will introduce the editorial and its publisher, identify the editorial’s claim and supporting reasons, and assess the strength of argument (based on the writer’s ethos, and use of pathos and logos) in a thesis statement. Reminder: This paper is not about your position on the issue,only your position on the editorial’s use of logical, emotional, and credibility appeals. Your thesis sentence will answer two questions: is the argument made in the editorial convincing? Why or why not?

The body of your essay will discuss the author’s ethos and use of pathos (emotional appeals) and logos (logical appeals).

Once you have drafted the middle section of your paper, move on to a strong conclusion that restates the thesis and sums up the essay’s main points.

Your Works Cited page should include a citation for the editorial, and for any outside sources you bring into the paper (note: you are not required to bring in any outside sources).

Assignment Requirements

  • Intriguing and memorable title that reflects the issue at hand
  • Opening paragraph that hooks the reader and gives an overview of the issue at hand.NOTE: do not referto the editorial in this paragraph, since you will not introduce it until the second paragraph. You can paraphrase info from the editorial in your overview, but do not mention refer to it with phrases like “the editorial says.”
  • First few sentences of the second paragraph introduce the editorial smoothly, weaving in important source details including the author’s full name, title, where it was published, date of publication, and what prompted the author to write this argument.
  • Second paragraph then summarizes the main argument the editorial makes and supporting points (about 4 to 6 sentences)
  • Second paragraph ends on your thesis about the overall success of the argument in a clear, strongly worded thesis statement at the end of the second paragraph that tells overall whether the author of the editorial makes a successful argument based on the author’s ethos and use of pathos and logos appeals
  • Body paragraphs focus on analyzing the editorial’s persuasiveness in terms of the rhetorical triangle
  • Essay integrates the editorial as evidence using things like summary, paraphrase, and direct quotations. Any direct quotation should be introduced with a signal phrase like “according to ____” or “The author argues that _____”
  • Conclusion restates the editorial information (author, title, date of publication, and publisher), rephrases your thesis and overall conclusions about the success of the text based on the writer’s ethos, and use of pathos and logos
  • Essay employs tone appropriate for an academic audience by using strong, sophisticated vocabulary, avoiding the use of the second person ‘you’, avoiding conversational language and slang, and by referring to the author(s) by last name
  • Length: 3+
  • Works cited page cites editorial in MLA 8 and cites any outside sources
  • The paper demonstrates clear understanding and execution of MLA conventions and formatting rules such as referring to the editorial in the present tense and using quotation marks and italics properly
  • Paper uses clear and appropriate transition words and phrases both within the paragraphs and between them to help ideas flow smoothly.
  • Paper varies sentence structure to avoid repetition and choppiness. Uses a mix of sentence types and variety of short and long sentences
  • Paper uses sophisticated and varied word choice appropriate for a formal, academic audience


Last Updated on September 26, 2019