Our view: Keillor's 'hiatus' opens space for other content
Five years to the day after his first column was published in the News Tribune, Garrison Keillor has called it quits. That's right. No more "The Old Scout." Not in this newspaper, where the column has run weekly on Thursdays since June 2005, and ...
Five years to the day after his first column was published in the News Tribune, Garrison Keillor has called it quits.
That's right. No more "The Old Scout." Not in this newspaper, where the column has run weekly on Thursdays since June 2005, and not in any other publication, either.
Keillor's syndicate, Tribune Media Services, made the announcement last week, saying Keillor was "taking a break" and a "hiatus" to finish a screenplay and start a novel.
The words "break" and "hiatus" suggested, of course, something temporary, something with a return date at the end. A quick call to the syndicate dispelled any such possibility, however. The break is final -- permanent, the News Tribune Opinion page was told.
In addition to writing a newspaper column, Keillor is a best-selling author, celebrity storyteller, well-known satirist and the longtime host of Minnesota Public Radio's "A Prairie Home Companion." He's also a native Minnesotan and the son of a carpenter and postal worker who lives now in St. Paul, not too far down the road from us.
Last fall, Keillor suffered a stroke, but thankfully it proved minor and didn't seem to interrupt his work. There's no indication his health contributed to the decision to end his column. Keillor turns 68 next month.
Keillor's departure no doubt thrills more than a few conservative readers of the News Tribune who sometimes were left bristling at his sharp attacks on Republicans and at what seemed for a while to be his weekly and not-at-all-kind jabs at President George W. Bush.
While liberal-minded readers may see the end of Keillor's column as a decaying of their point of view in the News Tribune, it won't be. The newspaper and its Opinion page staff remain as committed as ever to providing a forum for all views, whether left, right or otherwise.
The end of "The Old Scout" is an opportunity more than anything, the opening of additional space for content and commentary readers want and can't find anywhere else. Another day just became available to publish exclusive Local View, State View and other commentaries and/or letters.
Or to publish something else entirely. We're open to ideas. Suggestions can be submitted to Editorial Page Editor Chuck Frederick at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Since 2005, the News Tribune has been pleased to regularly offer Keillor's work. We wish we could continue. But at the same time, we're excited about what else we'll be able to offer -- and we hope you are, too.
We wish "the old scout" well, well with his screenplay, with his next novel and with whatever else he chooses to pursue -- even if it's just enjoying life as a Minnesotan, the way so many of the rest of us do.