Remembering Tony Day
September 4, 2007 | 8:17 am
The Times, 1970
And I found this, which was far too interesting not to share:
Lynn's phone call relating the sad news of Tony's passing stirred a lot of memories of my 23 years--most of them under his leadership--as a Times editorial writer and weekly columnist on the op-ed page. He was a gifted editor who ran the editorial page, the op-ed page and the Opinion Section with strength, good humor and integrity.
Over the years his stable of editorial writers included, to name a few, Roy Ringer, Phil Kerby, Marv Seid, Jack Burby, Lou Fleming, Al Shuster, Sid Bernstein and Frank Del Olmo. The fundamental decisions on editorial policy were, of course, made by the editor and publisher in consultation with Tony after the "big meeting" each morning in the Publisher's Suite. But the preliminary gatherings at which proposed editorials were discussed by the editorial writers were an important part of the process. These were spirited sessions in which each editorial writer was free to sound off, even on topics outside his or her field of specialization--and even if our views conflicted with those of Tony, Otis Chandler or the editor of the newspaper. Nobody won all the arguments, but under Tony's calm, cool approach everybody had a say then walked away as friends.
Wearing my other hat as op-ed page columnist on national and international affairs, I was often out of tune with our editorials on the same subjects. But Tony never told me what to write or not to write--nor, for that matter, did Otis Chandler, Tom Johnson, Nick Williams or Bill Thomas. It was a great way to make a living.
Even in that golden era, there were people on the corporate side who tried to influence editorial policy. Tony was the frequent target of those pressures but never, to the best of my knowledge, gave in to them. Tony was more than a friend. He was a consummate professional. In this era of transition to a different kind of journalism, Tony and people like him really will be missed.