An editorial essay expresses an opinion, either of a periodical's editorial board or of an individual. When editorials appear in print or online media, their purpose is to provide a persuasive argument to convince the reader of a particular viewpoint.
Editorials have a long and storied history in journalism. Originally, they appeared on their own in pamphlet form, as such documents as Thomas Paine's "The Crisis" and Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal," two early examples of persuasive essays aimed at a mass audience. Editorials have also taken on the form of cartoons, as artists have been able to boil down the point of a long essay into a poignant drawing and caption.