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Inside NCR

This paper goes to press on the eve of Labor Day, an observance that has lost a lot of its political zip since it was first conceived in the late 1800s. One account has workers in 1882, in what is generally considered the first Labor Day Parade, marching up New York’s Broadway with signs that read: “Eight Hours for Work, Eight Hours for Rest, Eight Hours for Recreation!” Such protests might seem quaint at this distance, but the story on Page 7 shows only too clearly that the exploitation of workers is not reserved to past centuries.

The story of the horrible working conditions in some of the clothing manufacturing compounds on Saipan lends an uneasy twist to the Labor Day sales that mark summer’s end. And the account of a growing anti-immigrant movement on Page 3 raises new questions about how we treat the people who are responsible for the first steps in delivering the food we eat.

The number of pages in each issue of NCR has been on a steady creep upward in recent years, thanks mainly to the work of our advertising department. The good news is we’re able to bring you more reporting and commentary and better graphics. The downside is sometimes we get lost in the swim of copy and pages.

To remedy that, Teresa Malcolm, formerly opinion editor, has been named news editor. In her new role, she works closely with Managing Editor Pamela Schaeffer and oversees most of the gate-keeping chores in the newsroom: tracking story ideas and stories from the idea stage to completion, keeping track of graphics and overseeing the pages as they move along different stages of editing and production. She’ll also continue to contribute articles from time to time.

Rich Heffern, meanwhile, has taken over the opinion editor duties. Heffern is already well-known to the NCR audience for his pieces on spirituality and on environmental matters. He’ll continue to write while overseeing weekly columns, as well as special issues and book reviews. Heffern has already introduced some new faces to the back of the paper with a move to include more “guest” columnists, and those efforts will continue in the coming months. We’ll also be adding a few more new regular columnists to those pages in the weeks ahead.

I’d also like to introduce a new NCR employee, Matt Stoulil, a recent graduate of Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo., who has taken up duties as layout assistant. Stoulil, a native of Tulsa, Okla., has a degree in business communication and will be assisting our award-winning designer Toni-Ann Ortiz in the production department. In addition to other duties, he will be in charge of overseeing production of our special sections.

Lots of you have written gracious notes commending John L. Allen Jr.’s coverage of the Vatican. Beginning this week, you can get an additional serving of Allen’s take on Vatican goings-on (he’s always got more to write than we have room to publish) by checking into www.natcath.org and selecting The Word From Rome button, which will be in the column to the left of the computer screen. Allen’s column will appear weekly. Anyone interested in receiving an e-mail of the column each week once it has been posted may register through our Web site. To do so, go to The Word From Rome page and select “Sign up for the weekly e-mail,” which appears in the upper right-hand corner.

-- Tom Roberts

My email address is troberts@natcath.org

National Catholic Reporter, September 7, 2001