The Virginian-Pilot
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Tribune Publishing
Founder(s)Samuel Slover
PublisherPar Ridder (Interim General Manager)
EditorKris Worrell
Headquarters703 Mariners Row
Newport News, VA 23606
Circulation58,196 Daily
54,880 Saturday
71,020 Sunday (as of 2021)[1]

The Virginian-Pilot is the daily newspaper for Hampton Roads, Virginia. Commonly known as The Pilot, it is Virginia's largest daily. It serves the five cities of South Hampton Roads as well as several smaller towns across southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina. It was a locally owned, family enterprise from its founding in 1865 at the close of the American Civil War[2] until its sale to Tribune Publishing in 2018.[3] Its headquarters is in Newport News, and prior to 2020 was in Norfolk.

The Virginian-Pilot is owned by parent company, Tribune Publishing. This company was acquired by Alden Global Capital, which operates its media properties through Digital First Media, in May 2021.[4][5][6][7][8]

Pulitzer Prizes

The newspaper has won three Pulitzer Prizes. The first was won in 1929 by editor Louis Jaffe, who received the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for "An Unspeakable Act of Savagery", an editorial which condemned lynching. Jaffe mentored the paper's next editor, Lenoir Chambers, who in 1960 received the same prize for his editorials on desegregation, as exemplified by "The Year Virginia Closed the Schools" and "The Year Virginia Opened the Schools". The paper was one of the few in Virginia to publicly support the end of Jim Crow. In 1985, Thomas Turcol was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General News Reporting for his coverage of corruption in Chesapeake.[9] Reporters at The Pilot have also finished as Pulitzer finalists three times since 2007.[9]


The Virginian-Pilot and its sister afternoon edition, the Ledger-Star (which ceased publication in 1995) were created by Samuel L. Slover as the result of several mergers of papers dating back to 1865.[10] The Virginian-Pilot covered the Wright brothers' early flights.[11] Slover's nephew Frank Batten Sr. became publisher at age 27 in 1954. He expanded the Virginian-Pilot's parent company, which soon evolved into Landmark Communications and later Landmark Media Enterprises, by acquiring other newspapers and radio and television stations and by creating The Weather Channel, now owned by a group of investors led by NBC Universal.[10] In Norfolk, on September 1, 1923, the company founded Virginia's first radio station, WTAR.[12] In 1950 it added Channel 4 WTAR-TV (now Channel 3 WTKR) and in 1961, it signed on 95.7 WTAR-FM (now WVKL).

The paper was among the first available online as a part of the Compuserve experiment in early 1980s where the paper and 10 others around the country transmitted text versions of stories daily to Compuserve's host computers in Ohio.[13]

Frank Batten Jr. became publisher in 1991 and expanded on digitizing the paper. In 1993 The Virginian-Pilot was one of the first newspapers in the country to launch a sister website,[14] Batten Jr. stepped down as the paper's publisher, becoming Landmark Communications' Chairman and CEO. "Dee" Carpenter became publisher in 1995, followed by Bruce Bradley in 2005, Maurice Jones in 2008, David Mele in 2012 and Patricia Richardson in 2014. The paper published a podcast in 2017. The Shot Archived 2017-11-10 at the Wayback Machine was created by reporters Gary Harki and Joanne Kimberlin and dealt with the unsolved 2010 murder of Norfolk police officer Victor Decker.

After The Pilot was sold to Tronc in 2018, no new publisher was named. Marisa Porto was named the newspaper's editor,[15] but she left the next year.[16] Interim General Manager Par Ridder said a search would begin for a new editor for the newsroom and a new general manager to oversee the business side of the newspaper.[16]

Kris Worrell was named by Ridder as The Pilot's editor on July 22, 2019.[17] She had previously been the executive editor of The Press of Atlantic City. Worrell graduated from Kempsville High in Virginia Beach and worked previously both for The Pilot and the Daily Press.[18]

Offices and corporate

Pilot Place, the former headquarters

The paper's offices are shared with its sister paper, the Daily Press and are located at 703 Mariners Row, Newport News, VA 23606.[19] It is in the City Center at Oyster Point complex.[20] Both papers are owned by Tribune Publishing.

Beginning circa 1937, the headquarters were in Norfolk.[20] In 2020, the newspaper moved,[21] as Monument Companies bought the Norfolk complex for $95,000,000.[22] This complex became Pilot Place, an apartment complex.[23] The new headquarters in Newport News was already the offices of the Daily Press, which was the lessee.[20]


Since December, 2014, the Pilot's single copy prices are: $1 Daily, $2.50 Sunday/Thanksgiving Day.

Sale to Tribune Publishing

On May 29, 2018, The Virginian-Pilot was purchased by Chicago-based media conglomerate Tribune Publishing, formerly known as Tronc, for a cash price of $34 million. The deal included the Pilot and all of its "outstanding interests" — including its subsidiary publications, the paper's Norfolk headquarters and its printing plant in Virginia Beach.[24]


  1. ^ "2021 Virginia Press Virginia Press Directory" (PDF). Retrieved 2023-04-24.
  2. ^ "The Virginian-Pilot" Archived 2017-04-04 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  3. ^ Sidersky, Robyn. "Virginian-Pilot sold to Chicago-based publisher Tronc". Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  4. ^ Roeder, David (May 26, 2021). "Chicago Tribune staff gets buyout offers as Alden takes over". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  5. ^ Folkenflik, David (May 21, 2021). "'Vulture' Fund Alden Global, Known For Slashing Newsrooms, Buys Tribune Papers". NPR. Retrieved May 21, 2021.
  6. ^ Chicago Tribune Staff (April 19, 2021). "Tribune Publishing ends discussions with Maryland hotel executive, moving forward with hedge fund Alden's bid for newspaper chain". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  7. ^ Tracy, Marc (February 16, 2021). "Hedge Fund Reaches a Deal to Buy Tribune Publishing". New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  8. ^ Feder, Robert (May 21, 2021). "'Sad, sobering day' for Chicago Tribune as Alden wins takeover bid". Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Poulter, Amy. "Virginian-Pilot reporter Tim Eberly named Pulitzer Prize finalist". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  10. ^ a b Hays, Jakon, and Maureen Watts, "Pilot Media History" Archived 2016-04-02 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  11. ^ "The Wright Brothers" by David McCullough
  12. ^ "WTAR-TV Marks Its First Year" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 30, 1951. p. 62. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  13. ^ Ferrarini, Elizabeth M. (1982). The Electronic Newspaper: Fact or Fetish. pp. 45–57.
  14. ^ Hays, Jakon; Watts, Maureen. "Pilot Media History". Pilot Media. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  15. ^ Sauers, Elisha (14 June 2018). "Pilot Media History". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  16. ^ a b Pierceall, Kimberly (21 March 2019). ""Editor of The Virginian-Pilot, Daily Press leaves amid restructuring"". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  17. ^ Adhikusuma, Briana (22 July 2019). "New top editor for Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press named, and she has ties to Hampton Roads". Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  18. ^ Adhikusuma, Briana (22 July 2019). "New top editor for Virginian-Pilot and Daily Press named, and she has ties to Hampton Roads". Retrieved 2019-08-02.
  19. ^ "Virginia Press Directory" (PDF). Glen Allen, Virginia: Virginia Press Association. 2020. p. 10 (PDF p. 12/52). Daily Press 703 Mariners Row Newport News, VA 23606[...]The Virginian-Pilot 703 Mariners Row Newport News, VA 23606
  20. ^ a b c Pierceall, Kimberly (2020-02-18). "The Virginian-Pilot to move headquarters to Newport News". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2023-12-26.
  21. ^ Worrell, Kris (2020-02-23). "The Virginian-Pilot's offices are moving, but its commitment to Hampton Roads is staying". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2023-12-26. - The old address: "150 W Brambleton Ave Norfolk, VA 23510"
  22. ^ Pierceall, Kimberly (2020-01-23). "The Virginian-Pilot building in Norfolk sold to Monument Cos. for $9.5 million". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2023-12-26.
  23. ^ Metcalfe, Trevor (2022-04-24). "A look inside the former Virginian-Pilot newsroom as developers invest millions in downtown Norfolk apartment projects". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2023-12-26.
  24. ^ "Tribune Publishing | News Release". Retrieved Feb 5, 2019.