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Inside NCR

A farewell of sorts and changes galore

All good things, it is said, come to a new beginning. I have been writing this column since June 1980 when I picked it up from my predecessor, Arthur Jones, now NCR editor-at-large. I have enjoyed my weekly expressions, staying in touch with you, our valued readers. It has been a pleasure to share personal thoughts while introducing the weekly issue.

Consider this a farewell of sorts. Not that I am going far. But among my last words for this column, I want to express my sincere gratitude to you for all the support you continue to show NCR. I have confidence in the paper's still youthful maturity and believe its best years remain ahead.

With this issue I take on the task of NCR publisher. Senior Editor Michael Farrell becomes Executive Editor Michael Farrell. To use the language of the season, he will be your new quarterback. I will work with him -- but at a distance -- in helping develop the paper's direction.

Farrell came to NCR early in 1980 -- several months before I did, he likes to remind me. We have worked closely together over the years. He's been your Forum editor, arts and culture editor, features editor and, most recently, NCR senior editor. He is well suited to lead the paper at this juncture in church history.

Those of you who do not yet know him will enjoy getting to know this self-deprecating Irishman. Asked to volunteer information on his personal life, he simply said: "Tell them my wife's name is Marilyn; my dog's name is Kierkegaard." No doubt there is more to learn from Farrell in this space in the weeks ahead.

Farrell will write "Inside NCR" from now on. I will maintain my ties with the paper by helping out with editorials and by writing a monthly publisher's column.

Other changes occurring in the NCR newsroom include these:

  • Senior News Editor Tom Roberts takes on the role of managing editor. In this capacity Roberts will coordinate the news operation. Roberts came to NCR in 1994 from Religious News Service (now Religion News Service) where he was news editor for seven years and editor-at-large for three years. Since that time he has taken on the role of managing NCR's news coverage. With a keen eye for the breaking news story, Roberts' assets in giving NCR a strong news backbone are already established.
  • Features Editor Pamela Schaeffer moves from a part-time to full-time NCR position and takes on the title of special projects editor. With a PhD in historical theology and nearly two decades of writing and editing news of religion, including 12 years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and three years at Religion News Service in New York, Schaeffer combines a deep understanding of church with the highest standards of journalism.
  • Andres Rodriguez joins the team as NCR's opinion editor. Rogriguez has an MA in English and creative writing from Stanford and a PhD in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of two books and has taught at several U.S. colleges and universities.
  • Per (he prefers Pierre) Jorgensen arrived in December as proofreader. He came to NCR from Oslo, Norway, via the University of Kansas at Lawrence, where he earned a BA in journalism in addition to studies in anthropology and linguistics. He combines a wry, dry humor with a love of words -- spelled correctly, we hope.

-- Tom Fox

National Catholic Reporter, January 10, 1997