Reorganization combines New Bern, Kinston newsrooms
Sister newspapers in Eastern North Carolina are reorganizing their newsroom structures in a push to enhance local coverage on digital news platforms.
Newspapers primarily affected by the reorganization are the Sun Journal of New Bern and The Free Press of Kinston. The Daily News of Jacksonville is included in the reorganization, while additional resources will be provided by the StarNews in Wilmington.
Randy Foster, a 30-year newspaper veteran who has been editor of the Sun Journal for the past eight years, has been named executive editor of the Sun Journal and Kinston Free Press, while Chris Segal, who has been editor of the Free Press for almost a year after serving as news editor in New Bern and then managing editor in Jacksonville, will return to Jacksonville as managing editor, this time in an enhanced role.
Ken Buday, managing editor of the Sun Journal and a 28-year veteran of Craven County journalism, has been named managing editor of the Sun Journal and Kinston Free Press and will work with Foster in the combined newsroom.
The transition for the changes took full effect on Monday, July 10.
"These changes will allow us to be more nimble in our reporting and more responsive to what readers want in their local news," Foster said.
"Combining newsrooms in New Bern and Kinston has been talked about for some time, but it really hit home during our award-winning combined coverage of Hurricane Matthew and the floods that followed. A combined newsroom allows us to cover daily news for the newspapers and websites, but also allows us to deploy a lot of reporting and photography firepower where and when we need it, where and when our readers expect it," Foster said.
Newsrooms in New Bern and Kinston will be responsible for several newspapers in addition to the Sun Journal and Free Press. Others include three weekly newspapers, Havelock News, Jones Post and Cherry Point Post; two quarterly magazines, My New Bern and My Lenoir; and three websites, newbernsj.com, kinston.com and havenews.com. The newsrooms also coordinate five monthly neighborhood newspapers, the Taberna Tribune, Trent Woods Times, Greenbrier Gazette, River Bender and Fairfield Harbour Beacon.
In Jacksonville, Segal will manage the Jacksonville Daily News newsroom, and also be in charge of the Topsail Advertiser weekly newspaper and My Onslow magazine.
Foster and Segal report to Pam Sander, the coastal group regional editor who is based at StarNews Media in Wilmington.
The regional approach will provide additional resources for New Bern, Kinston and Jacksonville newspapers. In addition to local staffs, a Wilmington-based reporter will cover environment and water quality issues for all GateHouse Media's Coastal North Carolina newspapers. A Jacksonville-based reporter will cover business, economy, military and transportation for papers based in New Bern, Kinston and Jacksonville. And a New Bern-based reporter will be covering breaking news for New Bern and Kinston.
New Bern sports coverage will be led by Jordan Honeycutt, replacing longtime sports editor Adam Thompson, who left the newspaper several months ago to take a job at a Charlotte TV station. Kinston sports coverage will continue to be led by Junious Smith. Sports coverage will be coordinated by newly appointed Regional Sports Editor Chris Miller, who is based in Jacksonville.