First Female Editor of ‘Charlotte Observer’ Retires

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By: Joe Strupp

Jennie Buckner, Vice President and Editor of The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer and the paper’s first woman editor, will retire on July 1, she told E&P Tuesday.

“It’s something my husband and I have talked about as a family goal,” Buckner said. “The timing seemed right from the Observer’s standpoint. The quality of staff is good.”

“Jennie has been a tremendous contributor to The Charlotte Observer and Knight Ridder,” Publisher Pete Ridder said in a memo, first published on Poynter.org’s Romenesko site. “Jennie’s leadership and her high standards have helped our paper to attract and retain excellent journalists. The Observer has been recognized nationally and regionally for its outstanding journalism, including being a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize during her tenure.”

Buckner, 56, started her journalism career as a summer intern in 1968 with the Observer. She later held editing jobs at The Detroit Free Press and the San Jose Mercury News, where she spent 10 years, including a stint as a managing editor. She then became vice-president/news for Knight Ridder. In that position, she supervised the news and editorial operations of the company’s 10 largest newspapers and its Washington Bureau, the memo said.

The mother of a 15-year-old daughter, Buckner said she wanted to be able to spend more time with her before she goes away to college in a few years. But Buckner did not rule out teaching or being involved in the community in some way.

“I want to just take a year off,” she explained. “Then maybe I will consider something else.”

Ridder said Buckner was in no way being forced out of the newsroom.

“Our loss is her family’s gain,” Ridder’s statement said. “Please join me in wishing Jennie well and thanking her for all she has done to make the Observer successful.”

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