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About Newsday's Opinion staff

Timothy P. Knight

Publisher, President and CEO


Tim Knight was named publisher, president and CEO of Newsday Media Group in July 2004. He is responsible for Newsday, Newsday Interactive (,, am New York - the free daily in New York City, Star Community Publishing Group of weekly shoppers and Island Publications' portfolio of lifestyle magazines.


Before joining Newsday Media Group, Knight served as vice president/strategic marketing, development and finance for the Chicago Tribune, after having overseen strategic planning, acquisitions and development projects for Tribune Publishing Company.


Knight holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from Marquette University and a juris doctorate with honors from DePaul University College of Law.

Rita Ciolli

Editor of the Editorial Pages


Rita Ciolli began working for Newsday in 1972. She started in the old Garden City office as a summer intern while studying at Fordham University, then worked on the Hempstead Town beat before covering courts in Mineola. Ciolli spent almost a decade in the paper's Washington bureau, assigned to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Justice Department and the FBI, before returning to Long Island. After a long stint as a media and technology reporter, Ciolli covered religion before joining the editorial board in 2005. She took over as editor of the editorial pages and opinion section in November 2007.


Ciolli earned a law degree in 1977 from Georgetown University Law Center.

Alleen Barber

Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages


Alleen Barber oversees the production of the editorial and daily op-ed pages, as well as letters to the editor. Before coming to Newsday's opinion section in 2000, she was the managing editor at United Features Syndicate, where she edited columns about politics as well as lighter fare about manners, food and daily life. In January of 2006, she joined Newsday's editorial board.


Barber graduated from Haverford College and earned a master's degree in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Bob Keeler
Editorial writer

Since coming to Newsday in 1971, Bob Keeler has covered town, county and state government. He has served as Albany bureau chief, national correspondent, editor of The Newsday Magazine, state editor and author of a book on Newsday's history.


As a religion writer, Keeler won a Pulitzer in 1996 for a series on St. Brigid's Parish in Westbury. In 2001, he joined the editorial board, where his primary focus has been local government in Suffolk County and environmental issues.

Alvin Bessent

Editorial writer


A Newsday editorial writer since 1993, Alvin Bessent currently covers health care, law enforcement, the race for the presidency and economic issues such as the housing crisis. He began at Newsday as a reporter in 1986 after stints as a college adviser, vocational rehabilitation specialist and a legislative aide to then Michigan Gov. William Milliken.


In 1988 Bessent was a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University, where he studied economic globalization.

Leslie Seifert

Editor of Opinion


Leslie Seifert has been editor of the Sunday Opinion Section since 2000. In the late 1990s, working at Newsday part-time, he won two awards for Best Series from the national Association of Opinion Page Editors. For many years he was an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and in the early 1980s helped start an arts and media beat for the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on PBS.


The Journalism and School Reform Project, which he founded and directed for eight years at Middle College High School in Queens, helped students at risk of dropping out to produce an independent school newspaper in collaboration with professionals volunteering.

Walt Handelsman

Cartoonist and member of the editorial board


Walt Handelsman is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist and animator. He joined Newsday in February of 2001. Before that, he worked for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.


Handelsman is a graduate of The University of Cincinnati.

Anne Michaud

Editorial writer


Anne Michaud joined Newsday's editorial board in February 2008 and is responsible for covering state government, education, economic development and transportation. She won first place for editorial writing for Newsday in the 2007-08 New York Associated Press Association contest. She has written for the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe and other publications, and most recently worked as the senior government and politics reporter for Crain's New York Business.

Michaud holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Trinity College, Conn., and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.


Jayme Caparell Wolfson

Assistant Editor of Opinion


Jayme Caparell Wolfson is an assistant editor in Opinion. She grew up in New York City and has a degree in political science from C.W. Post. Jayme worked at Newsday from 1978 to 1995, before returning in 2003. At the paper, she's edited everything from food to finance, and, now, politics to policy.

Cathrine Duffy

Letters Editor


Cathrine Duffy edits letters for Newsday's Opinion pages. A Long Island native, Duffy has worked at Newsday for more than 10 years and at various times in different job titles she's been the first person in the newsroom each day and the last person to turn out the lights.

Victoria Rigney-Ramirez

Administrative assistant


Victoria Rigney-Ramirez is the Opinion department's administrative assistant. A 9-year-veteran of Newsday, she has worked as an electronic library technician and as an editorial assistant in various departments.