The faces behind the opinions

January 02, 1998

Opinion pages and the people who create them too often are a mystery to a daily newspaper's readers. For that reason, The Sun today is running brief biographical sketches of the editors, writers and support staff behind the editorial and op-ed pages.

These are the people who help craft the newspaper's institutional opinions that appear each day in the editorial columns; who verify and edit the letters from readers; who work with contributors to the Opinion * Commentary page, which is designed to allow a variety of voices on local, state, national and international issues to be heard; who talk to readers with questions or comments; and who schedule the meetings with members of the public that are a regular part of the editorial page staff's week.

Jacqueline Thomas,

Editorial Page Editor

Jacqueline Thomas has been editorial page editor of The Sun since May, 1997. Previously. she was Washington bureau chief of the Detroit News and, earlier, the newspaper's news editor in Detroit.

She has also been associate editor of the Detroit Free Press, an associate editor of the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times and a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Thomas is a 1972 graduate of Briarcliff College and holds a master's degree from the Columbia University School of International Affairs. She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University during the 1983-84 academic year, focusing on American history, film and poetry.

Sara Engram

Sara Engram came to the Evening Sun as deputy editorial page editor in 1981, after a stint as reporter and editorial page editor at the News American. Before coming to Baltimore, she covered Delaware for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Engram graduated from Salem College in Winston-Salem, N.C., and earned masters degrees from Wake Forest University and Yale Divinity School. Before entering journalism, she worked as an elementary school counselor in Enterprise, Ala., her hometown, and as an administrator at Mills College in Oakland, Calif. and at Salem College.

From 1988 through 1992, Engram was the author of a weekly column on death and dying distributed by Universal Press Syndicate. A book of those columns, entitled "Mortal Matters: When a Loved One Dies," was published in 1990.

Her writing interests now include ethics and social policy, legal affairs, public health, school reform and family and children's issues. A series of editorials she wrote on Maryland's 1992 abortion referendum won Sigma Delta Chi's national award for editorial writing.

Engram is married to Jack Reilly. They are the parents of a 5-year-old son.

Barry Rascovar

A rarity at The Sun, Barry Rascovar is a Baltimorean whose entire career has been with his hometown newspaper. Growing up in Northwest Baltimore, he learned his lessons at Fallstaff Elementary, Pimlico Junior and Forest Park High School, the last with honors and a major in drama. Then it was on to Dickinson College 90 minutes away in Carlisle, Pa., where he graduated with honors in history. A year at Columbia University earned him a master's degree in journalism, again with honors.

He always wanted to be a journalist. Harold Williams, retired editor of The Sunday Sun, gave him his first chance as a fill-in for vacationing feature writers. That led to an offer in 1969 to join the newspaper's city staff covering cops and fires and writing obituaries. Climbing the traditional journalistic ladder, he made it to the re-write desk, then to City Hall and finally to the State House beat, where he reported on the fascinating manueverings of Gov. Marvin Mandel.

Following three years as news editor of The Sun's Washington Bureau, he was asked in 1979 by Joseph R.L. Sterne to be his deputy editorial page editor. He's been there ever since, writing a weekly column on state and local politics and daily editorials on a variety of issues. His primary concentration is state government but he also delves into presidential and congressional controversies, higher education quagmires, political pecadillos and a topic which keeps him perpetually young at heart - sports.

He lives in Baltimore County with his wife, Cecelia Hudson.

Andrew Ratner

Andrew Ratner, 39, is director of zoning on The Sun's editorial pages. He edits the work of writers who focus on Baltimore's suburbs and regional issues, and writes about those topics as well.

He has worked at The Sun for 13 years, first as Anne Arundel County bureau chief and then as assistant metro editor for the former Evening Sun. He formerly was a reporter in Pennsylvania and a stringer for the Wall Street Journal. He graduated from Penn State University, where the closest he got to the football field was as a drummer in the marching band.

He lives in Abingdon with his wife, Amy, and three children. He coaches basketball for the Emmorton Recreation Council in Harford County and served on the board of directors of the Baltimore County Police Athletic League.

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