Some readers are confused by labelling that distinguishes opinion pieces from analysis – and with good reason.

By Sylvia Stead for the Globe and Mail

Globe readers had reason to be confused this week. A few were puzzled by two instances of columnists who were writing either opinion, analysis or politics. So now you are probably confused too.

A little background: Campbell Clark is The Globe and Mail’s chief political writer. He writes several times a week, mostly opinion, but sometimes if it runs on the front page it’s labelled analysis. John Ibbitson is a writer in the Ottawa bureau who regularly writes columns or analysis and occasionally news stories. Adam Radwanski is a political feature writer who mostly writes analysis.

This week in the paper, all three have written pieces that were placed on the news pages, presented with what we call “head furniture,” which is a photo, their e-mail under the photo and a feature/column layout. In small type over those columns were the words “opinion” or “analysis.” On digital and mobile, it was even less clear. Two of the three included the label “analysis” on digital – the two that were labelled that way in the paper. The one labelled “opinion” didn’t carry that label online. Then all three on mobile were just labelled as “politics,” the same as any political news story.

Even sophisticated readers are not clear about what these labels and head furniture mean. One said on Twitter that since a Campbell Clark opinion column was labelled opinion, why was it on a page that says news?

Continue reading this story on The Globe and Mail website, where it was first published.

Sylvia Stead is the Public Editor of the Globe and Mail.