Member News (1/31/19): New opinions editor at RTD; legislator files bill because of Pilot story and more

By |2019-01-31T17:32:15+00:00January 31st, 2019|

RTD names new opinions editor; announces other changes to opinion section

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has named Pamela Stallsmith, a former reporter at the paper for almost 20 years, as its new opinions editor.

Stallsmith, who will start at the paper on Feb. 18, is the first female opinions editor in the paper’s history. She worked at the RTD for 19 years, from 1988 to 2007, as a reporter.

“We are fortunate to have Pam rejoin us at a time when informed, knowledge-based opinion has never been more in demand,” said Times-Dispatch President and Publisher Tom Silvestri. “She understands the history, the current issues and the potential for solution-based opinion pages that are must-reads every day.”

Stallsmith currently serves as the director of communications for the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to her time at RTD, she worked at the News & Advance in Lynchburg as a reporter.

Bob Rayner, Stallsmith’s predecessor and current editor of the editorial pages, has extended his retirement date until March 1 to help with the transition.

In addition to naming Stallsmith as the new opinions editor, RTD also announced new changes to the section that will be implemented once Stallsmith begins work on Feb. 18.

After Stallsmith starts, the paper will stop publishing unsigned editorials to “ensure full transparency and accountability for all of our content – news and editorial.” RTD will also establish a Community Advisory Board that will “help facilitate dialogue” between readers and opinion page staffers on regional and state-wide issues.

“This board will help reshape the opinions pages and content in print and online, with an eye toward engagement on social media,” said a press release from RTD.

Also, news commentary from longtime RTD columnists Jeff Schapiro, Michael Paul Williams and others, will now appear in the opinions section instead of under “Local Perspectives” in the paper’s A2 section.

Legislator drafts bill because of Pilot story

Newspapers and their shoe-leather reporting can make an impact and there’s proof of that in this year’s 2019 General Assembly session.

A state senator has submitted a bill because of revelations made in a September story by the Virginian-Pilot.

Sen. Frank Ruff, R-Mecklenburg County, has submitted a bill that would allow the state to fine individuals caught reselling or buying –“discounting”– winning lottery tickets for less than their value. It’s most often done by individuals who owe back taxes or child support.

Pilot reporter Peter Coutu wrote the story.

RTD adds new sports reporter

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has added a new sports producer to its ranks.

Zach Joachim is the paper’s newest sports producer. He previously worked at The Commonwealth Times and is an alumnus of Virginia Commonwealth University. He is on Twitter @ZachJoachim.

Virginia’s two Gannett papers not impacted by recent layoffs

The two newspapers Gannett owns in Virginia, the News-Leader and the Eastern Shore News, were not impacted by the chain’s recent spate of lay offs.

Last week, the company laid off several employees from its newspapers in more than ten states.