The Toronto Star has a new way to make sure readers understand the difference between news and opinion, the newspaper’s public editor Kathy English reported. The newspaper created a trust initiative earlier this year to “consider how the Star can foster greater reader trust and identified the need to differentiate news from opinion as a priority issue,” she explained.
The Star also lists and defines the different labels it uses, noting that analysis and investigation are news-based articles without opinion. Opinion labels are editorial, opinion, advice, blog, first person, readers’ letters and review. The labels will be used in print and online, English added. Online, the labels will be “within the article’s URL and above headlines.”
“In brief, news is defined as ‘verified information based in the impartial reporting of facts,’ and opinion as, ‘articles based on personal interpretation and judgment of facts,'” English reported. That said, English noted that opinion pieces like columns often include reporting and factual information.
“Labelling to provide clear indicators to readers is also a core component of media literacy — important efforts to create deeper public understanding of what journalists do and how we work,” English explained. Despite the new labels, English warned there may be “a few missteps as we seek consistency” in using the labels and the Star may “define and add more labels.”
In July, NPR made a similar move, updating how it labels and identifies opinion content on its website.