Virginian-Pilot loses managing editor Maria Carrillo to the Houston Chronicle

Virginian-Pilot editor Denis Finley writes in his memo about managing editor Maria Carrillo leaving for the Houston Chronicle: “I want to say something to those folks in Texas like, ‘Houston, we have a problem,’ but Maria probably wouldn’t let me. She would tell me not to use a cliche and she would make what I wanted to say better, just like she has done countless times for everybody in the room.”

From: Denis Finley
Date: Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 2:40 PM
Subject: [News] A departure. Please read.
To: “NEWS (Norfolk)”

MARIAIt is with great sadness I tell you that Maria Carrillo [left] will be leaving us to become senior editor for Sunday and enterprise at The Houston Chronicle.

When I was named editor in September of 2005, the first thing I did was name Maria managing editor. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Maria’s talent, work ethic, love of craft, peacemaking ability and search for perfection in everything she does is unparalleled. Every day she has been here has made us better. /CONTINUES

During her tenure, we have twice been named a Pulitzer finalist, most recently in 2012. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The list of Maria’s accomplishments is long and varied. Everything from the VPA sweepstakes awards to the Ernie Pyle Award to the National Headliner Award to the summer series that started with Yellow Fever in 2005 has Maria’s fingerprints on it.

Maria has been with The Pilot for 16 years. She started in features, led the narrative team and lifestyles team, was narrative editor for the entire newsroom and was DME in charge of enterprise and projects before becoming managing editor.

But all that great work takes a back seat to what I consider Maria’s greatest strength: Her fierce and undying loyalty to her beliefs. I have seen how loyal she is to her family, her friends and this news organization. I have personally experienced it. If I were in a fight, I would want Maria on my side, not the other. Of all the things about Maria I will miss, and they are legion, it is this trait I will miss the most.

The Chronicle is lucky. In fact, I don’t think they have any idea just how lucky they are to have Maria on its staff now. But we are lucky, too. For 16 years we worked with and learned from Maria. I want to say something to those folks in Texas like, “Houston, we have a problem,” but Maria probably wouldn’t let me. She would tell me not to use a cliche and she would make what I wanted to say better, just like she has done countless times for everybody in the room.

Maria’s last day will be August 29. Please join me in, uh, well, congratulating Maria and commiserating with each other on our loss.

Denis

I have not yet decided what I will do with the vacancy.

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