The Virginian-Pilot

Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) Landmark Media Enterprises
Founder(s) Samuel Slover
Publisher Pat Richardson
Editor Steve Gunn
Founded 1865

150 West Brambleton Avenue
Norfolk, Virginia

Circulation 156,968 Daily[1]
ISSN 0889-6127

The Virginian-Pilot is a daily newspaper based in Norfolk, Virginia. Commonly known as The Pilot, it is Virginia's largest daily.[1] It serves the five cities of South Hampton Roads as well as several smaller towns across southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina. It has been a locally owned, family enterprise since its founding in 1865, at the close of the American Civil War. It is known for establishing positive narratives within the community, especially around race relations.


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 1868. The Virginian-Pilot covered the Wright brothers' early flights.[2] 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 stations and by creating The Weather Channel, now owned by a group of investors led by NBC Universal.

In the 1929, editor Louis Jaffe received the Virginian-Pilot's first Pulitzer Prize, for an editorial which condemned lynching. Jaffe mentored the paper's next editor, Lenoir Chambers, who in 1960 received the paper's second Pulitzer for his editorials on desegregation. The paper was one of the few in Virginia to publicly support the end of Jim Crow.

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.[3]

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,[4] 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.

Offices and corporate

The paper's offices remains in their original downtown Norfolk headquarters on Brambleton Avenue, where it has been based since 1937. The paper operates satellite offices in Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Portsmouth, and Chesapeake, and on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in Nags Head. The paper's printing facility, once located also in the downtown Norfolk headquarters, is in Virginia Beach.

The Virginian-Pilot is a division of Pilot Media Companies, which includes, Pilot Direct printing, LNC (Local News on Cable)/Pilot13 News,, Inside Business, Link, The Flagship, Military Newspapers of Virginia, and other supplemental print and web businesses.

A January 3, 2008, report suggested a possible sale of The Virginian-Pilot's parent company, Landmark Communications.[5] After much debate, The Virginian-Pilot was taken off of the selling block.[6] In October 2008 Landmark's vice chairman said the company was continuing negotiations to sell the newspaper. [7] The company will not go back on sale for another few years.[8]


As of December, 2014, the Pilot's single copy prices are: $1.00 Daily, $2.50 Sunday.


  1. 1 2 "Virginia Newspapers". MondoNewspapers. Mondo Code. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
  2. "The Wright Brothers" by David McCullough
  3. Ferrarini, Elizabeth M. (1982). The Electronic Newspaper: Fact or Fetish. pp. 45–57.
  4. Hays, Jakon; Watts, Maureen. "Pilot Media History". Pilot Media. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  8. "Battens may sell The Roanoke Times' parent company". The Roanoke Times. 2008-01-03. Retrieved 2008-01-03.
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