Myrtle Barnes, Pioneering Virginia Newspaper Editor, Dies at 73

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Myrtle Sue Snyder Barnes, a pioneering Virginia journalist and former managing editor of the Daily Press of Newport News and its defunct afternoon edition, died Thursday. She was 73.

Barnes, managing editor at the papers from 1982 to 1987, was the first woman to hold that position at a Virginia newspaper with a circulation of more than 100,000.

She was also the first woman managing editor of a daily newspaper to be named to the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame and the first woman to head Virginia Associated Press Newspapers.

Barnes won a number of state and national writing and editing awards in a career spanning five decades, including the Distinguished Service Award from the Associated Press Managing Editors and the Virginia Press Women’s Press Woman of the Year.

Colleagues said Barnes was a tough but caring journalist who worked to advance women in journalism.

Carolyn West, a former Daily Press assistant managing editor, said Barnes could have worked at any of the country’s top newspapers. Daily Press Editor Ernie Gates said Barnes was a pioneer and teacher.

“She was totally committed to the power of local journalism ? from querulous, independent public service investigations to celebratory neighborhood news,” Gates said.

Barnes died of cancer. A memorial service is planned for Feb. 17 at Peninsula Funeral Home in Newport News.

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