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Changing of the Guard

Buckner leaves the Observer


Quick: name the job that's more influential than all of Charlotte's TV news directors rolled into one, plus half of City Council and the Chamber of Commerce.

For my take, it's the editor's job at the Charlotte Observer, which is now open. Current editor Jennie Buckner surprised the newspaper's staff March 23 by announcing her retirement after 11 years at the helm.

Despite flying a bit under the community radar, Buckner served on various community non-profit boards, while raising a family under the demands of a 270-person newsroom and the stress of serving the 24-hour news beast and corporate masters that are today's daily newspaper world. While there are many deputy editors, section editors, and other hierarchy in a print newsroom, at the end of the day, the editor is the one responsible for news content, tone, and editorial opinion, which is no small task.

Who will take Buckner's place? Some names being bandied about as a successor are managing editor Frank Barrows, assistant managing editor Cheryl Carpenter, and business editor Glenn Burkins. Publisher Peter Ridder will also look outside Charlotte, and of course, within parent company Knight-Ridder's personnel base.

WCCB-TV executive producer Reid Sartin is taking a careful approach to finding a new co-host for his Fox News Rising morning show. The program debuted in January and has already seen on-air staff turnover, looking for its niche alongside the traditional network morning beasts like Good Morning America. First, there was co-host Richard Spires' resignation after his arrest for a messy domestic dispute March 2. Then, field reporter Shannon Wiseman left the program for sunnier pastures in Atlanta a few weeks ago. Several males have been ostensibly trying out for the job on-air alongside co-host Robin King. WRFX-FM's Jon Wilson, and Adam Smasher from KISS-FM are two of the possible hires.

"I feel like we have an opportunity to really put together an ensemble, so there is no timetable, no real rush," Sartin says. "The show has gone through a development phase on a shoestring budget, so we want to take our time to find somebody who really clicks, and we plan on giving it time to grow." says Sartin.

Shannon Reichley is executive producer of Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean, premiering this month on the DIY cable network. E-mail at

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