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Our opinion: New faces, new places

February 16, 2002

The editorial page has become one of the most popular pages in this newspaper.

A few years ago we got just enough letters to the editor to barely fill the page. Sometimes we even came up short. Now we regularly run two pages full of letters, and writers still often have a week or so wait to get on the page, as much as we regret it.

Our surveys tell us the editorial page and PROBE are far and away our most popular areas among readers. Things have been going so well … we decided to change the editorial page. We're not changing it much, but we are making some alterations and additions.

Why mess with success? Well, we think we are going to make the editorial page even better, even more local and with an even wider breadth of opinion.

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Veteran Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez, an intermittent contributor to the editorial page during his tenure at the Press, will now write a regular column that will appear each Tuesday. Yniguez is right of center, sometimes far right of center, on most issues. Some of his stances will surprise readers, though.

Rudy is still working on a name for his column and is taking input from folks. Whatever he calls the column, we know it will be engaging.

Rudy will be replacing syndicated California affairs columnist Tom Elias, who, while often doing yeoman's work, didn't attract much interest from readers.

Leonard Pitts Jr., a columnist for the Miami Herald who is syndicated nationally, took over the Thursday column slot in the Press a few weeks ago. Pitts has long been heralded as one of the nation's best columnists and received tremendous acclaim for his column in response to the Sept. 11 attacks on this country that included the oft-quoted words "You monster. You beast." The reaction to Pitts columns from our readers already has been strong.

Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, who had held the Thursday and Sundays slots for several years, will now appear on Sundays.

On Mondays our column is "A Reader Writes," which allows many talented locals to take a stand, make a point, spin a yarn or have some fun. Fridays are reserved for staffers with "From the Desk Of," which is often filled by the popular folksy stories of staffer Dora DePaoli, but when no staffer takes that slot, it is given back to the public for "A Reader Writes."

The new lineup of columnists will present readers with more local personalities and a wider diversity of views. With Thomas on the far right, Yniguez on the right most of the time, Pitts somewhere in the wide middle and longtime local columnist Bret Kofford usually on the left, readers get to hear from a good portion of the spectrum.

We are confident our new editorial page lineup widens the vaunted "marketplace of ideas" and remains as captivating, or more captivating, than ever.

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