What Is Next?

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It does not escape us that the announced retirement of New London Day editorial page writer Paul Choiniere raises questions about the direction of opinion writing in Connecticut journalism.

For several decades now, the opinion pages of Connecticut papers have been led by and filled with the opinions of a select few, with very little turnover and very few new voices. This is an observation not a multi-count indictment.

Everyone is replaceable, and there is no doubt The Day and other papers can refill positions on the opinion pages if they wish to, but it is not clear they always will. The Day, for example, has advertised in recent weeks for a new editorial page editor. There is reason to believe that will not always be the case at all Connecticut papers.

Something else may be in the process of being lost as the economics of the news business continues to change. It used to be that reporters rose to positions on the opinion page after spending years covering routine daily news in their communities. Because it has become more difficult to make a living, over the long-term, as a newspaper reporter, it is less likely young reporters will hang on for a few decades, as Choiniere did, for that big break onto the opinion page. They are more likely to leave the business or take opportunities in bigger markets.

This means local opinion pages are being attacked on two fronts: The cost-trimming business office and the shallow talent pool.