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Starting tomorrow, there will be a brand-new section in the paper: Sunday Opinion.
Though the name is new, Sunday Opinion has a long history. It was born in 1935 as The News of the Week in Review, a place where Times staffers could offer their analysis of the week’s news. In 2011, the section was given over to the Opinion editors and renamed Sunday Review. Since then, it has been the print home of our finest and most ambitious opinion journalism, where you can find the Sunday columnists Maureen Dowd, Ross Douthat and Jamelle Bouie; the Times editorial board; and incisive guest essays from a wide range of viewpoints.
This redesign completes that transformation. By renaming the section Sunday Opinion, we’re recognizing the role it plays and making that clearer to readers. In that sense, nothing has changed. Do not fear: Maureen, Ross and Jamelle will still be writing every Sunday, along with a fourth columnist to be announced this summer. They’ll now appear at the front of the section because we know that readers come to Opinion looking for their unparalleled analysis — their smart, considered and sometimes humorous takes on the news of the week.
But that’s only the beginning. Sunday Opinion also has several new regular features that we hope will make the section even more surprising and enlightening. Each of them has been conceived with an eye toward Opinion’s goal of creating a platform for ideas and conversation, where people from all backgrounds can see themselves meaningfully represented while encountering opinions that may complicate their thinking.
Twice a month, the section will present our America in Focus series, in which Times editors ask groups of Americans to share their views on life, society, politics and more. The series has already convened independent voters on the direction of the country, parents on what they want their kids to learn in school about race and racism, and millennials on work and the Great Resignation, among others, and I’m excited to see where it goes as we head into the U.S. midterm election season. This week we gathered 10 pro-abortion-rights Americans and 12 anti-abortion Americans and asked them about pregnancy, abortion and the decision that overturned Roe.
Once a month, the back page of the section will be devoted to a longer piece of first-person writing. Along with Opinion’s newest podcast, “First Person,” this signals our commitment to going beyond broad trends and demographics to explore how people’s opinions and ideas are shaped by their individual experiences. The essays will be grouped in limited-run series, and first up is Fortunes, a series on the psychology of class. (You can read more about it in this note from our Sunday Opinion editor, Rachel Poser.)
Rounding out our roster of new features are Witness (portraits of people whose lives have intersected with national events) and Footnotes (recommendations of things to read, listen to and watch that provide context for the news of the week), the first of both we’ve included below.
Finally, Opinion in print has a gorgeous new look, both on Sundays and the rest of the week.
We hope you enjoy it, and if you have criticism, thoughts or suggestions, please get in touch with us at [email protected].
“Most people don’t realize how much we rely on bees for food. The drought in California has been really hard on the bees, and we’re having to feed ours to keep them alive because there’s no natural food. Everything’s just drying up. The blackberry harvest this year was just nothing. It’s usually six weeks long, but this year it wasn’t even a week.” — Rick Marques, Kelseyville, Calif.
Last week, NASA released the first photographs captured by the James Webb Space Telescope — images of stars, galaxies and nebulas, some billions of light-years away. It is the deepest and most detailed glimpse of the universe yet. The photographs join a number of other exciting recent discoveries that are changing how we understand our place in the cosmos.
Earlier this year, NASA scientists announced that they’d discovered carbon-12, life’s most crucial isotope, on Mars. In this episode of the podcast “Are We There Yet?” Brendan Byrne talks to the scientists about this finding and what it indicates about the planet’s potential for supporting life.
This documentary collaboration between astronomers, mathematicians and philosophers examines new data about black holes — one of the most mysterious and least understood celestial phenomena — and how they can help answer fundamental questions about time and space.
In their new book, the astrophysicist Donald Goldsmith and the astronomer Martin Rees describe the myriad ways artificial intelligence and robotics are transforming space exploration. They argue that robots can — and should — replace human astronauts on future interplanetary missions.
In this episode of the podcast “Planetary Radio,” Mat Kaplan and Bill Nye talk to the astronomer and engineer Martin Weiskopf about how X-ray technology is opening new frontiers in space exploration and allowing us to create models of planetary systems far beyond our galaxy.