The addition of pages and personnel both in print and online this week underscored what the Chicago Tribune calls its “commitment to opinion leadership.”
In a message to readers Monday, editor Gerry Kern announced the addition of a Perspective page on Monday and Tuesday, bringing the total number of opinion pages to three each day Monday through Friday and five on Sunday. Also being expanded are the Tribune’s digital opinion pages, including editorials, commentary, columns, cartoons, videos and letters from readers.
The moves come at a time when other newspapers are going in the opposite direction.
“Our news reporting and opinion page commentary are separate, and one does not influence the other,” Kern wrote. “But the opinion leadership expressed on our editorial pages is a critically important way we fulfill our promise to be a leading citizen in the Chicago region.”
New to the paper’s editorial board is Mike Lev, a 22-year Tribune veteran who’d most recently been associate managing editor/business. His new position marks an expansion of the department, according to editorial page editor Bruce Dold.
“The addition gives us more flexibility to produce the extra print pages and to run more columns and op-eds that appear only online,” Dold told me. “We’ve started posting fresh online content throughout the day. This will also let us spend more time soliciting op-eds from newsmakers and strong writers.”
While the extra space doesn’t signal the arrival of any new columnists, Dold noted, editorial board member Kristen McQueary has been writing occasional columns on politics.
“We’ll use the extra print pages for a mix of columns, op-eds, more Joe Fournier cartoons and op-ed features like the page of selfies we ran on Monday,” he said. “Gerry [Kern] has made a real commitment to opinion leadership in print and online. I really appreciate it.”