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225 Acknowledgments His obituary in 2008 noted that John Henry Moore, who was the longtime editor and publisher of the Laurinburg (N.C.) Exchange and my first boss, would be remembered for “challenging his community through his writing, believing that a strong community needs a strong newspaper to prosper.” A book such as this is always a collaborative effort that reflects the insights and influences of colleagues and associates who have trained, mentored , supported, challenged, or inspired us. Often, they have done all of the above. My training as a journalist began in the summer of 1969, when I walked through the doors of my hometown paper and met John Henry Moore. In the years since, I have been fortunate to work with and learn from some of the world’s legendary editors, those who are well known, including Max Frankel of the New York Times and Paul Steiger of the Wall Street Journal, as well as those who are lesser known, such as the late Roy Parker Jr., editor of the prize-winning and spunky Fayetteville (N.C.) Times, founded in 1973 when many newspapers were already disappearing. From these mentors, I came to appreciate the vitally important role of newspapers in informing our democracy and building strong communities. The late James K. Batten, CEO of Knight Ridder Inc., was the first to impress upon me the power of technology to both transform newspaper journalism and destroy the business model that underpins it. “If you care about good journalism, then you need to learn the business,” he told me in the early 1980s, as I lamented the economic struggles of the Dallas Times-Herald. His advice prompted me to pursue a master’s in business administration at Columbia University. Over the next two decades, a host of colleagues and mentors at the New York Times, the Harvard Business Review, and the Wall Street Journal gave me numerous opportunities to apply the business concepts I learned at Columbia, creating and implementing strategies that enabled those venerable journalistic Acknowledgments 226 institutions to grow revenues and profits by embracing technological change. My colleagues in the academy have also contributed directly and indirectly to the insights in this book. Several faculty members here at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication collaborated with me on research and encouraged me to build on the groundbreaking journalistic research on newspapers done by retired UNC professors Donald Shaw and Philip Meyer. I am especially indebted to Ferrel Guillory, director of the Program on Public Life; Ryan Thornburg, director of the Rural Open Block project; and JoAnn Sciarrino, Knight Chair in Digital Advertising and Marketing. Faculty members at other institutions have graciously provided insights from their own research and helped me apply these to community newspapers, most especially Ron Heifetz, senior lecturer at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; Richard Foster , senior fellow at Yale University’s School of Management; and James Hamilton, professor and director of the journalism program at Stanford University. Financial support has come from the McCormick and Knight Foundations , which provided grants to underwrite the research and test strategies. Two longtime media executives—Nancy Adler and Margarita Lam—gave extensively of their time and expertise, providing consulting advice to both the students and the papers participating in the project. Susan King, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, has encouraged me to make this research endeavor a priority. My research associate, the indefatigable and ever-resourceful Christine Shia, has cheerfully and proficiently guided work behind the scenes as this book evolved over the last four years from instructional website to its current form. My husband, Harrison Abernathy, an Episcopal minister and former newspaper journalist , was the first to encourage me to write this book and since has invested considerable time and thought in reading each of the rough drafts, making sure the insights can be understood by anyone who cares about good journalism . Finally, but not least, I am very grateful for the enthusiastic support and insightful contributions of UNC Press, including editor Jay Mazzocchi and editorial director Mark Simpson-Vos, who gave me excellent feedback on the original proposal and suggested the book’s dramatic arc, focusing on the individual stories of innovative community newspapers that are striving to stay relevant and profitable in the twenty-first century. The bibliography lists more than three dozen publishers and editors who have either worked directly with the UNC team on this project or Acknowledgments 227 graciously shared their...


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