Observer Update-2

In the May issue, I wrote a story about The Charlotte Observer (which was picked up by Romenesko), one year after its purchase by The McClatchy Co. After talking with several people, including Walker Lundy, who edited three Knight Ridder papers, and a key industry analyst, I concluded that The O used to be a very good paper, is now a good paper, and in the future will struggle to even be that. Since McClatchy bought Knight Ridder, the newspaper industry has gone into tailspin, and there are now signs that The O, one of McClatchy’s most profitable papers, is starting to be affected. Today, County Commissioner Bill James sent me this email:

“Read your article about ‘paper chase’ and the Charlotte Observer. I don’t know if they are in trouble or not but I can attest that they have no regular county reporter anymore. In the ‘old days’ a reporter would call the leading Democrat or Republican to find out what was coming up or was on the agenda. About a month ago Carrie Levine and her husband/reporter Richard Rubin (AKA “Mr. Traffic”) left for greener pastures in Washington, DC. No one has been slated to replace them. This says something. I don’t know if the other political reporter positions are being consolidated or eliminated. Regards, Bill James (R, District 6), Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, Matthews, NC


PS – Tell your readers thanks for the award. One man’s ‘blowhard’ is another’s “political breath of fresh air”.”

(The postscript refers to May’s BOB Awards, in which our readers voted him for the Blowhard category)

This is indeed significant. Before Carrie covered local government, her husband Richard did. If true, it’s pretty amazing that a major local daily is operating without a reporter dedicated to covering county government. —Rick Thurmond

Categories: The Buzz, Trade & Tryon, Trade & Tryon > Media