On Monday evening, the Washington Post published a piece written by seven freshman Democrats in the House of Representatives (including Pennsylvania’s Chrissy Houlahan). The article, which ran as an op-ed in the Opinion section, outlined the shared viewpoint of these representatives that President Trump’s alleged interactions with Ukraine were inappropriate and worthy of an impeachment inquiry. Less than 24 hours later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry.

In an interview with Michael Barbaro, host of the New York Times Daily podcast, Rep. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, one of the signers of the piece, identified the op-ed as a key piece of information that led Speaker Pelosi to make the formal inquiry, something she’d been resisting, despite calls from many who have been pushing for more scrutiny of Trump’s presidency.

But what exactly is an op-ed?

The term op-ed is a hybrid of the words opposite and editorial, because traditionally, op-eds run on the page next to the editorial page. (Editorial, another word for your newspaper vocabulary, is an opinion about a matter of public interest or policy representing the institutional voice of a news organization, researched and written by an editorial board, a group of writers and editors separate from the newsroom.)

Op-eds are essays or commentaries that present the opinion or perspective of someone with insight on the news. Op-eds explore new ideas and present issues and insights by writers and thinkers who have no connection with the newspaper.

The goal of opinion pages is to provide a platform for a variety of voices and viewpoints — including civic leaders and members of the community. Those voices and viewpoints can provide understanding and insight into complicated issues facing our region and world, and expose readers to viewpoints that they might not have previously considered.

Why news organizations run op-eds

James Bennet, editorial page editor of the New York Times, once said of op-eds: “The goal is to supply readers with a steady stream of big ideas and provocative arguments, and to entertain them. It should be an exciting experience and often a challenging one.”

At The Inquirer, we run several op-eds every day. In the daily print paper, you can find them on the last two pages of the front section and on Sundays, they run as part of Currents, a five-page section dedicated to opinions and ideas. Online, you can find our op-eds (as well as editorials written by our Editorial Board, columns written by staffers, and political cartoons) at inquirer.com/opinion.

In The Inquirer, op-eds tend to run about 650 words in length and are focused on topical news issues. Send them to:

Click here to learn more about what we’re looking for with op-eds.