Deborah Simmons yesterday was appointed editor of the editorial page of The Washington Times, succeeding Tony Blankley, who resigned last month to join the Edelman Group, a policy and public-relations firm. Miss Simmons had been deputy editor of the page.
“Deb has been at The Times almost since the creation,” said Wesley Pruden, editor in chief of The Times, who made the appointment. “She has been there, done that, a newspaperwoman with the wide-ranging experience in local, national and international affairs, the curiosity, insight, fire and enthusiasm that make our editorial pages some of the liveliest anywhere. I’m delighted to make this appointment. Our readers will be, too.”
Miss Simmons joined The Times in 1985, soon after it was founded, and has served as a copy editor, deputy Metropolitan editor, editor of features, including the popular Civil War Page, editorial writer and columnist before becoming deputy editor of the pages. She will continue to write her weekly Op-Ed column in addition to her new responsibilities. She went to work at the old Washington Evening Star just after graduating from Anacostia High School in Washington, and later worked on the Tallahassee Democrat in Florida, and taught classes in editing at the University of Maryland. She attended the University of the District of Columbia and Trinity College in Washington.
“The respect and influence that The Times has wielded over the years is centered in the fact that we don’t, like a lot of editorial pages, test the winds before we take a principled stand,” she said yesterday. “To paraphrase Lord Palmerston, we may not have permanent friends, but we certainly have permanent principles. I look forward to the challenge of walking inside some incredible footsteps.”
Miss Simmons is a regular panelist on City Cable 16’s news show “Reporters Roundtable” and has appeared on BET’s “Lead Story,” “Real Time with Bill Maher” and Mr. Maher’s “Politically Incorrect,” “America’s Black Forum, the Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” and C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” and served as guest commentator on NPR and several Washington stations.
She is a member of the National Conference of Editorial Writers, the Greater Washington Urban League, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Washington and National Associations of Black Journalists, and is active in several educational and faith-based community organizations.
She and her husband, Rick Robinson, live in Washington, and are the parents of four children and have two grandchildren.