‘Gainesville Guardian’ Names Interim Team to Replace Fired Editor

By: E&P Staff

Two long-time Gainesville (Fla.) Sun veterans were named interim co-editors to replace Charlotte Roy, who was fired just days before the Thursday launch of the New York Times Co. weekly that targets heavily African-American east Gainesville neighborhoods.

One co-editor — Sun Business Editor Doris Chandler, an African American who worked on the committee that planned the new weekly — has worked for the daily for 36 years. The other, former Managing Editor Rob Oglesby, was at the paper for 31 years before retiring in 2001.

“We’re real pleased to have the Guardian in the hands of two veteran journalists, and we wish Charlotte well,” Sun Publisher Jim Doughton said in an Sun article by Bob Arndorfer announcing the changes Wednesday. “We are very grateful and appreciative of all her good work in getting the first issue out.”

Doughton, who also serves as publisher of the Guardian, said the paper would conduct a search for a permanent editor of the new weekly.

Roy, who declined to comment extensively on her departure with E&P Tuesday, elaborated on the sudden event in comments to “Journal-isms” columnist Richard Prince that were posted late Tuesday on the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education’s Web site.

“I just was called down and told that it wasn’t a good fit,” Roy told Prince. “I’m job hunting. I want to find a good job. This was my dream job. I produced a wonderful product. The paper is excellent. Everybody I’ve been working with has said it is a remarkable job. I’m very proud.”

She said she couldn’t speculate on why she was fired.

The Guardian has generated controversy since earlier this summer when word spread among the black press that the Times Co. would soon publish a black-oriented paper. Some black newspaper owners and columnists suggested this represented the first step of majority-owned newspaper chains into the black press, just as mainstream papers have increasingly created or bought Spanish-language papers that compete with Mom&Pop Latino newspapers.

The Times Co. has insisted that the Guardian is no different than other community weeklies that individual dailies in its regional paper group have launched in recent years.

In the Sun article announcing the interim co-editors, however, Sun and Guardian Publisher Doughton described the paper, which hits the streets Thursday, somewhat differently. He said it is “a community publication designed to serve both east Gainesville and the African-American community.”

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