The editorial section of any newspaper is an article by the editor or any other senior journalist from the publication. Editorials aim at tackling recent events and issues. Editorials try to take viewpoints from all aspects and formulate an opinion based on objective analysis of the given situation. One can form their opinion about a given situation based upon such analysis. Editorials are mostly neutral but may also feature the editor’s personal views. Reading editorials can give UPSC important insight into how decision making can be influenced by public opinion.
The commission tests UPSC aspirants’ ability to read between the lines and form their own independent opinion. This makes reading editorials and building a habit of the same very important while preparing for UPSC exams. Here are a few tips to make the most of any editorial in a newspaper:
1. Look for Supreme Court/High Court Judgements
As it happens, the Hon. SCI and all high courts entertain major conflicts which may be sectarian, political, economic and demographic in nature. More often than not, major cases in such institutions have ramifications that span the nation. Keeping an eye on such articles is always a go-to.
2. Government Policies
Many policies of the government are beneficial for many, yet may not be acceptable to all. For example, social justice policies, minority protection laws, religious policies etc. find a wide plethora of various opinions and a newspaper’s objective point of view could help people find out what other people might be thinking. Also, the economic policies of the government need a dissection from time to time. Editorials are very often written by senior people who come with experience. One can take a byte or two from them too.
3. Read Letters to the Editor
Newspapers don’t publish only their own points of view. Many times, private citizens send their own pen to the editor. This may be of conflicting opinion or may not. What citizens think about the things going around us again, gives important insights into the public opinion about current developments.
4. Global News Are Important As Well
Global news includes major events happening in allied and non-allied nations, our neighbours’ statements and policies, elections in countries with deep ties to India, etc. All these developments, government changes and dynamic diplomatic ties impact the working of the nation as a whole. Staying informed on global politics is a good way to know the what, when and why’s of changes/decisions of the central government for the public service commission.
5. Regular Public Welfare Opinions
General things about the society such as pavements, roads, sewage management, crime etc. also feature in the editorial section every now and then. While these things aren’t much of a problem to the government, public services essentially deal with all these departments along with administration.
What not to focus on
Every newspaper publication seems to have some form of political inclination. While that’s natural and doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing, one must also keep a close eye on personal bias slipping into the writing. No person is free from bias and in the end, the article is written by a human. We must keep this in mind while reading the editorial. Not getting blown away with the wind of the pen, nor sitting idle like a rock is the way to go.
Also, the political opinions of the newspaper or the publication aren’t to be focussed upon since political news are neither entertained by the commission nor are asked as a part of the examinations. In short, Since political news and opinions are not a part of the syllabus of the UPSC, you can save yourself some time not reading that.
Sports rarely end up on the editorial page and are also not asked much in the exams either. Ignoring sports-related news is usually a good idea unless you mentioned a sport in your form.
Apart From Just Editorials
The goal of reading news every day is to keep oneself knowing a little bit of everything current. Focussing only on the news at hand does that part. However, getting to know what people think about these happenings, their perspectives and thoughts bring a little more clarity to the mind. To do that, depending only upon a newspaper is not enough. One can also read online non-print media journalism pages to find opinions about various things to form their own informed independent opinion.
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