Member News (11/29/18): New editorial writer at RTD; Daily Press dropped from defamation suit

By | 2018-11-30T14:02:50+00:00 November 30th, 2018|

Daily Press dropped from defamation suit

Last week, a federal judge dropped the Daily Press from a defamation suit brought on by the former executive director of the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport.

The former director of the airport, Ken Spirito, claimed that the Daily Press had defamed him in a series of articles the paper did regarding the airport and some of its financial practices.

The investigation from the Daily Press found that the Peninsula Airport Commission used $4.5 million in taxpayer dollars to pay a debt for a startup airline that closed. It was also reported by the paper that Spirito shredded documents during a financial investigation.

Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. said Spirito had failed to prove the Daily Press acted with “actual malice”—which is required to be proven in a defamation case– in its reporting.

“The premise is when a newspaper is reporting on public matters, the newspaper can tell the public what’s in … any type of governmental matter, even when what’s in (the matter) is defamatory,” said an attorney for the Daily Press, Hunter Sims. “Otherwise we could never tell the public what’s going on.”

RTD hires new editorial writer, promotes two editors

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has added a new editorial writer to its ranks and promoted two editors.

James Bacon, former publisher of Virginia Business and founder of the website Bacon’s Rebellion, started Monday as a senior editorial writer for the paper.

“Jim is a gifted writer, a relentless researcher and an original thinker,” said Bob Rayner, who began serving as editor of RTD’s editorial pages in June. “He is ideally suited for our primary mission, which is to inform readers and stimulate debate about policy, culture, and politics. He will also help lead our efforts to more deeply engage with readers on digital, print, and face-to-face platforms.”

Bacon will maintain his website. It will operate independently from RTD.

In addition to Bacon’s hire, RTD promoted associate editorial editor, Robin Beres, to deputy editor and Cindy Paris, who previously worked as the op-ed editor at the paper, to senior editor for commentary.

Beres has worked at the RTD since 2004. In her new role as deputy editor, Beres will “write columns and editorials, oversee the production of the daily Editorial page, manage letters to the editor and help shape the Editorial department’s policies and points of views.”

As senior editor for commentary, Paris will have a “larger role” in the paper’s Sunday commentary section. She “will continue to select opinion pieces for the will continue to oversee the selection of opinion pieces, to manage design and editing of the daily Op-Ed page, and to help develop editorial viewpoints,” according to the release.

Paris has been with RTD since 1979.