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Replacing columnist Dave Barry

January 20, 2006

In December 2004, humor columnist Dave Barry announced he would take a year off from writing his weekly column, which The Herald-Mail has carried for many years.

Assuming that he would return in 2006, The Herald-Mail spent a year reprinting "classic" Barry columns.

Now Barry has decided that he will no longer write a weekly column.

In a Dec. 28 interview with Editor & Publisher, Barry said that while he will write an occasional column for he Miami Herald and maintain his blog, the earliest his weekly column would return would be "several weeks after my death."

When he quit writing his weekly columns, Barry was syndicated in more than 500 U.S. newspapers.

That suggests that after reading about all the serious things that have happened in the previous week, on Sunday readers need a laugh.

So what do we do now?

Our plans are complicated by the fact that humor columnists are in short supply. Believe us, we've looked hard and much of what's out there that is supposed to be funny really isn't.

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So what we're going to do is get samples of a variety of columnists, some humorous and some not, and see what readers like.

Our first offering this coming Sunday will be Gene Weingarten, who writes a weekly column for The Washington Post.

We would like to get readers' reaction to Weingarten and to any others we try out. And, if you have any suggestions for a Barry replacement, please send those along, too.

If you have e-mail, you may send comments to opinion@herald-mail.com.

If you don't have e-mail, you may send comments to Editorial Page Editor, The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741.

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