Kerplunk! Chapel Hill Herald R.I.P?

Via Jon Ham at the infamous Locke Foundation’s Right Angles:

I just heard a rumor that the Paxton Media folks are going to kill The Chapel Hill Herald. If that’s true, then I guess I can cancel my plans to attend the 20th anniversary of the starting of that paper. I was the first editor of the CHH and I remember the six months leading up to our first issue (on June 6, 1988) as the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life. A lot of good people worked on that project. Sadly, most of them no longer work at The Herald-Sun.

Last Fall I wrote (“Herald-Sun Editor Robert Ashley gets an earful from CitizenWill…”) that the Herald-Sun’s online policiy of

“cutting the community off from their historical narrative is not only selfish, it is bad business. Robert disputed my “bad business” assertion, telling me the HS makes plenty from their archival content.”

I challenge Ashley to incorporate and cultivate more community involvement. Instead, as the N&O’s local outlet, the Chapel Hill News improved, the CHH failed to take my challenge and has become less and less relevant to our community’s discourse.

Paxton might’ve been angling to kill off the CHH from the beginning, maybe we’ll find out soon. Running a daily is a daunting task, as Jon recalls from an early meeting:

“Remember,” I told all the young reporters and copy editors (most of them right out of school or close to it), “when this starts, it will never end.” From the looks on their faces I don’t think they had ever thought of the CHH project in those terms. A daily is, after all, put out DAILY, 365 day a year, no breaks. It scared us all.

In any case, it is a sad day when we lose another venue – even if it has been severely diminished in quality and increasingly biased in content – for local coverage. At least we now have the Carrboro Citizen.

I wish Rob, Emily, Beth, Jamie and the rest of the great reporting staff (who I think have been hobbled in their desire to provide excellent service to our community by Paxton’s policies) good fortune.

May you land on your feet.






5 responses to “Kerplunk! Chapel Hill Herald R.I.P?”

  1. Fred Black Avatar
    Fred Black

    Note that his rumor does not indicate a specific date or time period. Problem with rumors is that …

  2. Administrator Avatar

    It would be great if it is just a rumor. Aren’t you still a columnist for the CHH? Any insight?

  3. Fred Black Avatar
    Fred Black

    Yes, and no, other than I first heard the rumor over six months ago. Rumors are always with us, and sometimes they turn out to be true!

  4. Administrator Avatar

    Considering this was from Ham, I felt it worthwhile passing on. I trust Jon and a few others to get the inside scoop on the CHH and HS.

  5. Fred Black Avatar
    Fred Black

    Well, he certainly these days is “right.”

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