Opinion pages and the people who create them too often are a mystery to a daily newspaper's readers. That's why The Sun today is running articles about the purpose of the opinion pages and how they function.
Also, we've included brief biographical sketches of the editors, writers, cartoonists and support staff behind the editorial and op/ed pages.
Jacqueline Thomas, editorial page editor
Ms. 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 news editor in Detroit.
She has also been associate editor of the Detroit Free Press and the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times in Louisville, Ky., and a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Carol Stevens, associate editor of the editorial page
Ms. Stevens joined The Sun as associate editor of the editorial page in November from USA TODAY, where she was an editorial page writer and editor who specialized in education and health issues. Previously, she was a reporter in the Washington bureau of the Detroit News, where she covered health care and welfare reform, education and the 1996 presidential campaign.
She is relocating to the Baltimore area from Arlington, Va., with her husband, Erik Brady, a sports reporter for USA TODAY, and their two children.
Barry Rascovar, deputy editorial page editor/special projects
Mr. Rascovar is a Baltimorean whose entire career has been with his hometown newspaper. The Northwest Baltimore native joined The Sun in 1969, covering city news, and later, City Hall and the State House beat.
After three years as news editor of The Sun's Washington Bureau, Mr. Rascovar became a deputy editorial page editor. He writes a column on state and local politics and editorials on a variety of issues. He lives in Baltimore County with his wife, Cecelia Hudson.
Andrew Ratner, deputy editorial page editor/metro
Mr. Ratner directs 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 old Evening Sun. He formerly was a reporter in Pennsylvania and a stringer for the Wall Street Journal.
He lives in Abingdon with his wife, Amy, and their three children.
Marilyn McCraven, op/ed page editor
Ms. McCraven has been editor of the op/ed page since October 1997. In her seven years at The Sun, she has worked as a copy editor, reporter and editor of the Evening Sun's Other Voices page. She covered city issues as a reporter.
Ms. McCraven is a native of St. Louis. She has worked at newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.
She lives in Mount Washington with her husband, Thomas Mapp, and their two sons, who attend the local public elementary school.
Lane Harvey Brown, copy editor
Ms. Brown joined The Sun's editorial staff in March, after working on the news copy desk.
Ms. Brown, a journalist for 13 years, has worked for newspapers in North Carolina, Indiana and Illinois. In Chicago, she worked for the Sun-Times and was a consultant to a partnership of homeless service providers .
Ms. Brown lives in Rodgers Forge with her husband, Rob, who is a free-lance photographer, and their two children.
Elise Armacost, editorial writer
Ms. Armacost, a Carroll County native, joined The Sun's editorial board in 1992, after four years of reporting on local government from Sun bureaus. She writes editorials about Baltimore County.
Ms. Armacost lives in Glyndon with her husband and two daughters.
Dan Berger, editorial writer
Mr. Berger writes about foreign affairs and many cultural matters. In 1967, he joined the Evening Sun as an editorial writer, and there began the feature of terse comment known as "Bergerisms," on the op/ed page. He was The Sun's correspondent in London from 1969 to 1972.
The New York native served as a U.S. soldier in Berlin and later worked for newspapers in Indianapolis, New York and Cleveland.
He is married to the former Elena Plotnikoff of Glasgow, Scotland. They live in Roland Park and have two grown children.
Mike Burns, editorial writer
Mr. Burns has worked for The Sun for more than 25 years, as a reporter, columnist, foreign correspondent and, for the past seven years, as an editorial writer. He specializes in environmental and consumer issues and writes editorials on Carroll County affairs. Before coming to Baltimore, he was state editor of the Decatur (Ill.) Herald.
He lives in Baltimore County.
Harold Jackson, editorial writer
Mr. Jackson has lived in Kansas, Pennsylvania and Maryland, but will always call Alabama home. A Sun editorial writer for four years, he concentrates on Howard County and civil rights.
He has worked for newspapers in Alabama and Pennsylvania. In 1991, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing while at the Birmingham News.
Mr. Jackson came to The Sun in 1994 as a reporter. Mr. Jackson has been married to his college sweetheart, Denice, for 21 years. They live in Columbia with their teen-age daughter, son and Jackson's mother.
Antero Pietila, editorial writer
Mr. Pietila mostly writes editorials about Baltimore economic development, housing and neighborhood issues. He has been with The Sun since 1969. As a reporter, he covered a variety of local beats from police to City Hall. From 1980 to 1988, he was a Sun foreign correspondent, first in South Africa and then for five years in the Soviet Union. He joined the editorial page staff in 1989.
In the summer of 1964, the native of Finland worked his way on a freighter to the United States, where he edited a now-defunct Finnish newspaper in Brooklyn, N.Y. and, after three months, went back home to Finland to complete college.
Three years later, he returned to the United States to go to graduate school.
Mr. Pietila still writes a monthly letter from America in Finnish for Aamulehti, Finland's second-largest newspaper, where he once worked on the foreign desk. He and his wife, Barbara, an accomplished quilter, live in a restored 1857 townhouse on Union Square.
Brian Sullam, editorial writer
Mr. Sullam has been The Sun's editorial writer for Anne Arundel County since April 1995. He joined the editorial staff in 1992, writing editorials on Carroll County. Born in Pittsburgh, Mr. Sullam was raised in Hawaii, where he began his journalism career in 1973 at the Hawaii Observer, a bi-weekly magazine, after graduating from Johns Hopkins University. In 1976, he took a job with the Washington bureau of the Journal of Commerce.
Mr. Sullam joined The Sun in 1979 as a business reporter. He covered financial institutions and exposed the corrupt practices of Old Court Savings and Loan's President Jeffrey Levitt, which precipitated the collapse of Maryland's privately insured savings and loan system in 1985.
Mr. Sullam lives in Mount Washington with his wife and two teen-age daughters.
Norris West, editorial writer
Mr. West joined the Evening Sun in September 1989 as a reporter covering Howard County. After that paper merged with The Sun, he became a legal affairs writer, covering federal court and the state's appellate courts. He also has reported on nonproft groups and Baltimore neighborhoods. He edits letters to the editor and writes editorials on labor, transportation and other issues.
The Philadelphia native worked on several newspapers there, the Toledo Blade and the now-defunct National Leader.
He lives in Columbia with his wife, Walinda, and their three children.
Mike Lane, political cartoonist
Mr. Lane, a Maryland native, has drawn more than 5,000 cartoons for The Sun and Evening Sun. He is syndicated by Creators Syndicate.
When he's not drawing cartoons, Mr. Lane is a carpenter, painter and dancer.
Mr. Lane is married to Gloria dePerignat Lane, a professor of special education. They have two grown sons.
Kevin Kallaugher (KAL), political cartoonist
Mr. Kallaugher has been editorial cartoonist for The Sun since 1988. After graduating from college in 1977, Mr. Kallaugher embarked on a bicycle tour of the British Isles, where he was recruited by the Brighton Basketball Club as a player and coach. After the club encountered financial difficulties, Mr. Kallaugher drew caricatures of tourists in such places as Trafalgar Square and on Brighton Pier. In March 1978, the Economist magazine hired him to become the first resident cartoonist in its history.
Mr. Kallaugher spent the next 10 years working in London as a cartoonist for several publications before coming to Baltimore.
Marc Block, editorial page coordinator
Mr. Block, a Forest Park native, began working in the newsroom of The Sun in 1963, after graduating from Forest Park High School. Two years later, he joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed in San Diego . He served as a boilerman aboard the USS Vancouver off the coast of Vietnam for two years. He returned to The Sun newsroom in 1968. His duties include helping assemble the letters to the editor page. An avid gardener, movie buff and deep-sea fisherman, Mr. Block lives with his wife, Sharon, and their daughter, Le'Anna, in Northwest Baltimore County.