Inquirer editor blasts decision to deep-six oped page

There’s a new wrinkle in the ongoing tensions at Philadelphia’s daily papers. The editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial page has publicly criticized a decision to eliminate that paper’s op-ed page as of next week.

In a Labor Day email obtained by WHYY/NewsWorks, The Inquirer’s Harold Jackson speaks out against plans to reduce the daily opinion section of The Inquirer to one page, starting next Monday.

For decades, the paper has had what is known as an “oped” page (literally OPposite EDitorial) page six days a week.  The page usually carries commentaries by members of the community, syndicated commentators and some of the paper’s own columnits.

The Saturday oped page was dropped for cost-cutting reasons in the middle of the last decade.

Jackson, writing to people whose work has appeared on the Inquirer oped page over the year, urged recipients of the email to protest the decision to the papers’ owners. He listed several owners’ emails.

His email said the reduction “not only does a disservice to the greater Philadelphia community, but represents a reduction in the status of one of America’s largest cities.”

Jackson could not be reached for further comment.

In a written statement, the papers’ parent company, Interstate General Media said “editorial decisions made by The Philadelphia Inquirer are only at the discretion and direction of the Publisher Bob Hall and/or Editor Bill Marimow.”

The statement went to say that “the Publisher and Editor consider the interest of readers, first and foremost, in their mission to best preserve the integrity of The Inquirer and its responsibility in serving the citizens of our region.”

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