The top two editors at the Express-News bolted in as many days. Tall, silver-haired, and chronically affable, Brett Thacker (No. 2) resigned from the daily Wednesday, a day after executive editor Robert Rivard (No. 1) called it quits. Both forwarded sunny emails to E-N reporters and editors indicating their abrupt departures had been voluntary; Rivard's arrived Tuesday afternoon, Thacker's Wednesday evening. Nevertheless, all of the staffers Plaza de Armas spoke with Wednesday believe Rivard had been pushed and that Thacker had been boxed in, placed in a situation where he had little choice but to leave.
The circumstantial evidence was compelling, they said, but the reasons remained stubbornly opaque.