Image via WikipediaThe chief requirement of writing opinions is to make professional efforts to view and take into account facts, wherever they may lead. Not always easy, for each of us tends to disbelieve what we do not like and believe what favors our perspective. Every writer has personal history, influences, and philosophical leanings. The main criticism of news reporting today is the joining of news with opinion, so that the reader may be influenced by another's viewpoint, thereby discouraged from one's own assessments, comparisons, and conclusions. Recently, I saw this happening on the front page of The Washington Post where one adjective, some could say "slur," turned what should have been straight reporting into a judgment intended to slant readers' views. The Washington Post has long been a leading US newspaper of international readership (see International Herald Tribune, the international newspaper in English, a combination of New York Times and Washington Post newspaper news and feature articles).
Opinion writing, in the best of news tradition, is limited to established pages or sections. Different opinions, viewpoints, and perspectives are the hallmark traits of the best news media, whether print, online, TV, and radio. Film writing also thrives, gaining professional respect, on perspectives that influence opinions, even, perhaps, changing them.
Fact- and truth-based opinion-writing is most likely flawed, in some sense of the personal biases of the writer. Yet, the truth helps, and the more known by the writer, the more reliable the open-minded opinion writer. Facts and truth should affect our perspectives, balanced alongside personal experiences and philosophical biases. Truth about situations in flux often must involve a process of discovery. For this and other reasons, news media that give a range of views, even from competing perspectives of thoughtful writers, thrive.
Opinari, opinion's Latin root, tells us that opinion is a matter of thought, reason, and belief, based on the fact, experience, and conclusions known to, available, and personal to us.