UPDATED: An end of an era

UPDATE 6:38pm same day: My sources tell me that the physical op-ed page will be removed from the paper but that some of the opinion content will remain. No one is quite sure how this is going to work just yet. I’m also told that the Sunday paper will have two pages (down from its current 3: editorial, op-ed, forum). Stay tuned. I’ll update more as it becomes available.

Original post:

I had planned on posting this morning about my latest op-ed, which appeared in The Virginian-Pilot yesterday. Instead, I awoke to learn this:

LeaseI am shocked and saddened by this, on so many different levels. Daryl’s work on the op-ed page cannot be overstated. He put together opinions reflecting all of the voices that are out there: liberal, conservative, and in-between. There were days when I read the op-ed page that I was infuriated with its content – and days that I was delighted. I’m sure others felt the same way. The newspaper was the only source where we were brought face-to-face with differing views. Nowadays, all of the other “news” sources have a spin, making it easier to only read those opinions with which we agree. That doesn’t make us a society that is well-informed; rather, it makes us ever more divided.

The op-ed page was my morning dessert. I read every one – and sometimes learned a nuanced point that I had missed. That alone was worth the price of my  newspaper subscription.

On top of that, Daryl is a heck of a writer. It took me a while to “get” his humor – his funny bone is in a different place than mine – but once I did, I’d have to be careful not to be drinking my coffee when I read it, lest it end up coming out of my nose when I laughed too hard.

I have no idea how or why this decision to eliminate the op-ed page came about. I guess we should have seen it coming – the Monday paper eliminated the page a while back. But the total elimination is a huge loss for our community.

Is this the beginning of the end for the Pilot?



14 thoughts on “UPDATED: An end of an era

  1. I don’t know how many times we have to mark the “end of days” for the newspaper, but this is certainly one of them. Of course, had they asked Kirwin or me to be a columnist, this might have not happened. 🙂

    Regardless, this is silliness. The paper, regardless of it’s perceived political proclivities, is a community endeavor. We look to it for our news and ideas. Those ideas are found on the op-ed page. This is a mistake.

      1. Ha, practice what you preach. You’re columns have become nothing more than support for Democratic Party talking points. You used to have an independent voice, back when the Democratic Party rejected you as a candidate. Not anymore.

  2. I cannot imagine this happening, Vivian. Really – I seriously don’t see how this could happen.

    Like your routine, mine was the same – I read every editorial on that page and it didn’t matter who the writer was or from where the editorial originated – I read it.

    As for Daryl Lease – I met him back in 2006, along with several of the Pilot’s other writers, and he was generous with opinions on writing and very gracious to all of us who had become part of the Guest Columnist program during that period. So far as his own writing, I loved his style with its fun edginess to it and even when it was humorously sardonic. Simply, he was a fun read, and you never really knew in which direction a Daryl Lease piece would take you.

    Lease was also one of the folks who responded to an e-mail. Matter of fact, I can’t think of a time he wasn’t responsive. Before everyone had the luxury of e-mail to zap off replies, right and left, Larry Bonko was the same as Lease, always taking the time to respond to something I’d written him.

    So, does this elimination of the Op/Ed Page include the Letters page, the Pilot’s iqb ‘views’ and the ‘other’ views? Does this mean an end to Maureen Dowd, Cal Thomas, Leonard Pitts, etc, and all the other national journalists as well as the locals like you, Coby Dillard and all the local ‘guest’ writers? I guess I’m just not fully sure what in covered in the ‘op/ed’ page.

    Needless to say, this bit of news you brought this morning, with the title, ‘The end of an era’ is absolutely correct. Not to mention that carrying the ‘paper’, paper all over the house and yard with my first cup of coffee will probably end, too. Sad, indeed. Jane (Massey)

    1. From Wikipedia:

      An op-ed, abbreviated from opposite the editorial page, often mistaken for opinion-editorial, is a newspaper article that expresses the opinions of a named writer who is usually unaffiliated with the newspaper’s editorial board.These are different from editorials, which are usually unsigned and written by editorial board members, and letters to the editor, which are submitted by readers of the journal or newspaper.

      So the columnists you named – Dowd, Thomas, Pitts – as well as the other national writers plus the local ones will be gone. As I said, like the Monday paper, where they get a single page with editorials and letters to the editor.

    1. I generally agree. The Pilot has produced less and less original, local journalism over the course of my lifetime, but at least the local opinion and letters to the editor had a decidedly local bent.

      They’d probably be better off scrapping the A section but retaining Hampton Roads and the Op Ed at this point. If it’s trying earnestly to become nothing but a daily compendium of articles culled from the Associated Press’s wire feed, it’ll have about as much cultural relevance in the 21st century as Encyclopedia Britannica.

  3. This is a horrible loss, and, I feel a dereliction of duty. I need to see these writers. I need to read everything Vivian writes. I know I can depend on her to get real grassroots information from out there, combined with good writing and to tie it into the Virginia scene..This is a sad turn for a newspaper that had a national reputation and that recieved a Pulitzer prize. There was a genuine effort to keep a balance. Myreen Moore Nicholson

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