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Activist Toolkit — Skills Building Tools

Who's Who in the Media?

Before approaching the media it is useful to know who does what.


Reporters investigate and write news stories for newspapers, magazines, and web sites.


Bloggers are the people who keep and update or contribute to blogs or online journals.


Producers initiate, coordinate and oversee all aspects of production of television and radio news and programming.

Editorial Page Editor

At most newspapers, the editorial page editor directs the editorial page staff. She or he makes final decisions about the issues on which the newspaper will editorialize and, with assistance from editorial page writers and senior newspaper staff, decides what positions the newspaper will take.

Op-Ed Page Editor

The op-ed page editor (sometimes called the opinion page editor) is responsible for selecting the op-eds or “guest editorials” for publication in the newspaper. At smaller newspapers, the editorial page editor is often also the op-ed page editor.

Letters Editor

The letters editor selects the letters-to-the-editor that the newspaper will run. The letters editor at some newspapers is also the editorial page editor and/or the op-ed page editor.

Editorial Writer

Editorial writers write the editorials. In many cases, editorial writers focus on specific issues or areas. You can often find out which writer covers health and/or aging by checking a newspaper’s website or calling the editorial department and asking.


Columnists write editorial columns on a regular basis. Some columnists are local, others are syndicated (David Broder, George Will). Syndicated columnists tend to write about national issues from a national perspective while local columnists want local information about issues, whether they are local or national in scope. Most columnists have very clear positions on most issues that are easily gleaned by reviewing their columns. Columnists are often profiled on newspapers’ websites, which provide background information on them, as well as information on what they write about and their interests.

On-Air Personalities

On-Air Personalities host a radio show with the intent of entertaining or informing the audience with discussion and interviews.


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