BND bids adieu to longtime editorial page editor Lori Browning

Next week the BND and its readers will be losing a familiar and strong voice. Lori Browning, who has served nearly 26 years as the editorial page editor, is putting down her pen and moving on to new adventures.

Lori’s contributions to this organization, our community and our state will be sorely missed.

And while Lori decided it’s time to move on to the next chapter, I know that she will miss you, the newsroom and her daily role as a watchdog and commentator.

While many of you know Lori personally or professionally, many others only know her work and little about what makes her tick. So I want to take a moment to tell you a bit more about her.

Lori has always loved journalism, and knew that it could make a difference, beginning with her days working for The Crusader at Althoff Catholic High School and at the Daily Egyptian when she attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

She started her professional career as a reporter and assigning editor, working at the Mascoutah Herald and Fairview Heights Tribune before she joined the BND.

About 26 years ago, she was promoted to editorial page editor at the BND, and what a perfect fit.

Lori is fearless. She is a consummate journalist, with a keen eye for a great story. When she hears about an injustice or a politician behaving badly or tax money being wasted, her personality compels her to let you know about it.

She has a tremendous passion for local issues and opening people’s eyes to the unfair and unethical. Her disdain for corruption is palpable.

You, the BND reader, see the results of that passion daily. Her work has helped change laws, added a strong, smart voice to public debate, forced elected officials to rethink their actions or at least try to hide them and shined a light where many prefer darkness.

The BND’s editorial page is dedicated to the ideals of freedom of speech and democracy. After 157 years it will continue to be a place where opinions, ideas and views are shared, but it won’t quite be the same without Lori’s voice.

Yes, there will be some among the powerful and privileged who will applaud her departure. Maybe their feet have been held to the fire. Maybe their path hasn’t been as straight as they would like you to think and Lori let you know about it. Maybe they have a guilty conscience. So be it.

But as for the rest of us, we send Lori this message: Thank you for your service to this community.

I, for one, will miss Lori Browning personally and professionally, but this page will continue to stand for freedom of speech and democracy. She will be leaving behind her pen.

Jay Tebbe is president and publisher of the Belleville News-Democrat.