scissorsMore and more newspapers are reducing the number of opinion pages in their daily publications, and others are cutting editorial sections entirely. As more newspapers cut staffs and news pages overall, it’s not surprising that editorial pages have found their day on the chopping block. Even editorial cartoons and syndicated columnists are getting cut from print newspapers.

According to Pew Research Center, the Philadelphia Inquirer is one of the most recent newspapers to reduce its opinion pages, following in the footsteps of other papers like the Kansas City Star and South Florida Sun Sentinel. As opinion sections get cut in newspapers, Pew Research Center has found a correlating drop in membership for the Association of Opinion Journalists. In 2006, the organization for editorial writers and columnists had 55% more members than it does today.

While some newspapers have shifted opinion to the web, others have simply abandoned publishing op-ed pieces altogether. Newspaper editors and executives are reducing print editorial content and moving it online to their websites in an effort to drive online conversations and build online communities (and presumably ad revenue).

At the same time, they claim to be attempting to remove obvious bias from the pages of their print publications, not just trying to cut costs. Jodi Enda of Pew Research Center shared the following quote from Philadelphia Inquirer publisher Bob Hall (who fired Inquirer Editor William K. Marimow earlier this week over “philosophical differences” in the paper’s future):

“[The decision to cut the editorial section of the Philadelphia Inquirer] was not done at all for cost-cutting purposes. [The paper had] too many editorials, too much bias.”

This shift away from print editorials can also be seen in journalist titles. For example, Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers (in Florida) changed the title for its editorial page editor to audience engagement and opinion editor.

These trends are just one more example of how the newspaper industry has evolved in recent years, and it will never go back to the way it was. What do you think about print newspapers cutting editorial sections? Share this post and your opinion using the social sharing buttons below.

Image: Philippe Ramakers