A Northern Virginia Daily special anniversary section

Celebrating 75 years: Index of stories
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'A new voice' came to the Daily in 1977

Editor’s Note: On July 1, 1977, John F. Horan Jr. was named editor of The Northern Virginia Daily. The following is a reprint of his first editorial, which appeared on July 2, 1977.

John Horan

Editor John Horan shared this undated "mug shot."
Courtesy photo

A new hand grips the editor's pen, a new voice speaks through these columns.

New faces are attempting to fill the void left by a man who devoted most of his life to nurturing this newspaper. James J. Crawford was instrumental in shepherding The Northern Virginia Daily through many lean years, when nearly everyone said it could not succeed. We are grateful for his counsel, for his willingness to share his experience with those younger, and we wish him well.

This is not a time to expound philosophy. In fact, we’re not even sure we have one. But we do have a sense of order, a feeling of what is good and bad, right and wrong.

We believe strongly in our right to inform, to comment on the issues and events of the day. But we also recognize an obligation to be responsible and fair.

We are beholden to no one, to no group, to no political party. We have no ax to grind, no master plan to save the world.

We have no preconception that we alone hold the ultimate truth about anything, and we recoil from anyone who thinks he does.

Try as we might, we cannot bring ourselves to view anything as either totally good or bad.

We have no heroes, no devils. The study of history, which we hope compensates for the leanness of our years, has taught us not to put people on pedestals. Those who came before us were, after all, human, with strengths and weaknesses, virtues and faults. That maxim holds true for our contemporaries and those who will follow us.

History also provides a sense of continuity, a tendency to view things dispassionately.

Our goal then is to inform, to provoke thought. It is a lofty goal and frequently we will miss the mark. But it is an obligation we take seriously and one for which we will strive.

Related story: Daily's editorial philosophy consistent for 75 years

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