New Sun columnist returns to former job


Newly hired Sun columnist Wendi C. Thomas, whose first piece in the paper was to have run today, decided over the weekend to return to her former employer, The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn.

Thomas, 34, said her decision was motivated entirely by homesickness for Memphis, where she spent much of her childhood.

"This doesn't have anything to do with The Sun, or the staff there, or my editors," Thomas said. "The Sun is a very high-caliber paper. I've never worked at a paper like this. But I have to do what's best for me. It's personal."

Thomas was hired after a nationwide search following the resignation in January of longtime columnist Michael Olesker. She began working at The Sun a week ago and had written her introductory column.

Timothy A. Franklin, The Sun's editor, said he was disappointed in Thomas' decision to return to The Commercial Appeal, where she had worked for 2 1/2 years.

"She's a gifted writer, and I think she would have had a major impact at the newspaper and as a commentator in the region," Franklin said.

However, he added, the opening for a metro columnist at The Sun attracted "terrific candidates from all over the country."

"There's no shortage of interest in the job, and no shortage of talent in the ones who applied," Franklin said. "These columnist jobs at major urban dailies don't open up too often. We'll do what's best for the paper."

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