About the Team

It Takes a Community

Saving Community Journalism and this accompanying website represents a five-year collaboration between 200 students and professors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a dozen news organizations throughout the United States.  Led by Penelope Muse Abernathy, Knight Chair of Journalism and Digital Media Economics and a former senior news executive, the project has been funded by grants from the McCormick, Hussman and Knight Foundations.

UNC Contributors


UNC Faculty

pennyPenelope Muse Abernathy is a journalism professional with more than 30 years of experience as a reporter, editor and senior media business executive. She became the Knight Chair of Journalism and Digital Media Economics in 2008, and specializes in reinventing journalism and the business models that support it so that strong news organizations can thrive in the digital media environment. As a senior business executive, Abernathy launched new enterprises and helped increase revenue and profitability at some of the nation’s most prominent and digitally advanced  news organizations and publishing companies, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Harvard Business Review.  She also has extensive experience as a newspaper reporter and editor, working in communities large and small, rural and urban. Immediately prior to joining the faculty at UNC, she was vice president of the media council at the Paley Center for Media.  She earned MBA and MS degrees from Columbia University, and has a BA in history from UNC at Greensboro.

ferrelFerrel Guillory is professor of the practice of journalism in UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and founding director of the Program on Public Life, which focused on bringing university scholarship to bear on public policy in communities throughout North Carolina and the South. The program publishes NC DataNet and Carolina Context, reports community politics and issues based on research by UNC students faculty. He also co-authored the book, The Carolinas: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: An Exploration of Social and Economic Trends, 1924-1999 (Duke Press, 1999). Before joining the UNC faculty in 1997, Guillory spent more than 20 years as state capitol correspondent, Washington correspondent, editorial page editor and columnist for The News and Observer in Raleigh.

joanneJoAnn Sciarrino, a former executive vice president for BBDO North America, is the Knight Chair in Digital Advertising and Marketing at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication.  An advertising and marketing executive with more than 25 years of experience, her primary research focus is on working with industry and academic communities to test, deploy and refine digital advertising and marketing business models.   At BBDO, Sciarrino advised more than 30 global clients, including AT&T, Starbucks, FedEx and Hyatt, on a variety of innovative, analytical approaches, ranging from claims substantiation to message mix modeling and social media brand attachment.  Prior to joining BBDO, she was a practice leader at Burke Strategic Consulting Group. Sciarrino earned a MBA degree with a focus on marketing and decision science from Emory University, and a bachelor’s degree in marketing and statistics from Michigan State University.

ryanRyan Thornburg is an associate professor with a special interest in online news and the future of journalism.  He the director of the Open Community project , which is funded by a Knight News Challenge grant.  The project aims to make public records more digitally accessible for citizens and journalists, and to  develop sustainable revenue models for public affairs journalism.   Thornburg, author of Producing Online News, is a former editor at USNews.com, CQ.com and Washingtonpost.com.


UNC Students

Leadership in a Time of Change is a class at UNC designed to prepare both graduate and undergraduate journalism and communication students for the business realities of the media industry. “Graduates” of this advanced-level course worked with publishers and editors at newspapers through the country conducting market research, developing strategic plans and implementing those plans. Alumni of the class are now working in a variety of media companies (including ESPN, Bloomberg, Disney and Digitas), consulting with national firms such as BIA Kelsey, teaching communication at other universities around the world, and starting their own digital enterprises.

  • Amanda Adams
  • Lynn Ashley
  • Anika Anand
  • Berta Astorga
  • David August
  • Melvin Backman
  • Jin Ah Bae
  • Kaitlyn Barnes
  • Claire Berg
  • David Bockino
  • Stewart Boss
  • John Brennan
  • Margaret Caison
  • Fitch Carrere
  • Dylan Castellino
  • Emma Clark
  • Meredith Clark
  • Margaret Cobb
  • Mike Copenhaver
  • Robert Curris
  • Austin Cynthia
  • Jennifer Demarest
  • Jeanne-Marie DeStefano
  • Chelsey Dulaney
  • Charles Duncan
  • Andrew Dunn
  • Rachel English
  • David Enarson
  • Ulugbek Ergashev
  • Victoria Fosdal
  • Sarah Frier
  • Andrew Gaerig
  • Cheney Gardner
  • James Geer
  • Clayton Gladieux
  • Calin Gunn
  • Tony Hale
  • Christoper Helton
  • April (Jenille) Hess
  • Sophia Hruza
  • Chenxi Denni Hu
  • Eliza Hussman
  • Michele Jones
  • Eliza Kern
  • Jennifer Kessinger
  • Min (Jennifer) Kim
  • Thomas Klinting
  • Alex Kowalski
  • Kevin Kiley
  • Jeremy Knight
  • Alex Lemonde-Gray
  • Tim Ladouceur
  • Cameron Lewis
  • Tariq Louzon
  • Sapna Maheshwair
  • Ross Maloney
  • Ch. Masaracchia
  • Mary Parke McEachran
  • Caitlin McGinnis
  • Claire McNeill
  • Rich Menhart
  • Rebekah Meyers
  • Jeffrey Mittelstadt
  • Ian Murphy
  • Evan Noll
  • Steven Norton
  • Nicole Norfleet
  • Jeannine O’Brien
  • Katie Oliver
  • Lucia Parker
  • Tarini Parti
  • Alexander Perez
  • Caroline Peterson
  • Stephanie Peterson
  • Chase Pickering
  • Sierra Piland
  • Lauren Porter
  • Rebecca Putterman
  • David Remund
  • Mary Alice Rose
  • Hanna Samad
  • Gloria Schoeberle
  • Paula Seligson
  • Nick Shchetko
  • Alan Shumate
  • Victoria Stillwell
  • Savona Smith
  • Robert Story
  • Hannah Thurman
  • Daniel Trigoboff
  • Ariana van der Akker
  • Christina Vidal
  • Marshele Waddell
  • Sam Wardle
  • Gillian Wheat
  • Eric White
  • Dakota Whitworth
  • Ashley Wilkes
  • Leslie Wilkinson
  • Jed Williams
  • Michael Wightman
  • Nick Weidenmiller
  • Eden Ye
  • Tae Jung Yum
  • Kevin Zeichmann
  • Michelle Zayed

Newspapers Featured




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The Whiteville News Reporter, a twice weekly paper in eastern North Carolina, founded in 1896 and owned by the High and Thompson families since 1938.  In 1953, the News Reporter and the neighboring Tabor City News were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their journalistic courage in exposing Ku Klux Klan activities in Columbus County.  They are the smallest nondaily newspapers ever to win journalism’s most coveted honor.  The News Reporter is featured extensively in Saving Community Journalism and will soon be the subject of a free multimedia case study, available on the Case Consortium @ Columbia University.   Les High is managing editor and his sister, Stuart, is director of special projects.


La Raza, the largest Spanish-language weekly in Chicago, was founded in the early 1970s and is currently owned by a newspaper company based in Argentina.  The newspaper has employed an aggressive digital strategy to reach the city’s 800,000 Latino residents and is known for its journalistic focus on covering “the news that isn’t being covered” by other news outlets.   Both  publisher, Jimena Catarivas, and former managing editor, Fabiola Pomareda, are featured in Saving Community Journalism.


The Hampshire Review is a 7,000-circulation weekly in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. Editor Sallie See is an indefatigable force in the town of Romney, population 2,000.  In recent years, she has accumulated thousands of fans on the paper’s Facebook, even as she established the small paper as a go-to digital agency for local advertisers.


The Southern Pines Pilot, a twice weekly in the Sandhills region of central North Carolina, was founded in 1920 and has always been independent.  It was purchased in 1996 by a group of four investors, all previously associated with the Raleigh News and Observer. David Woronoff, one of the investors, is publisher of the company, which also owns the local book store and has launched a number of lifestyle magazines in communities around the state.


The Wilkes Journal Patriot is an award-winning, family-owned newspaper that has been dedicated to covering the news of Wilkes County in western North Carolina for over 100 years.  The paper is known for its aggressive pursuit of public officials who attempt to hide behind closed-door meetings.  Jule Hubbard, managing editor and son of the two co-owners and co-publishers, is featured in Saving Community Journalism.


Dailies Featured



The Fayetteville Observer is North Carolina's oldest newspaper still being published. It is the largest independent newspaper in the state and one of the largest family-owned papers in the country.  In recent years, the North Carolina Press Association has consistenly recognized the Fayetteville Observer and FayObserver.com with its General Excellence award.  Charles Broadwell, who has risen through the ranks from reporter, is publisher of the 55,000 circulation daily, which covers a ten-county region in eastern part of the state that includes Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base.


The Daily Herald, a 12,000-circulation daily, located in central Tennessee, was founded in 1848, and is currently owned by Stephens Media. The newspaper’s concerted effort to boost digital advertising revenue was highlighted in a recent report by the Pew Research Center.  The publisher, Mark Palmer, is featured in Saving Community Journalism.

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The Naples Daily News, on the west coast of Florida, is owned by E. W. Scripps Company.  Print advertising and readership still flourishes in this upscale retirement community.  Before becoming president and publisher of the Gannett-owned Ashville Citizen Times in western North Carolina, then-Publisher Dave Neill oversaw a significant reorganization of the paper’s advertising department, aimed at providing “consultative” service to the local businesses in the community.


The Rutland Herald, founded in 1794, is the oldest continuously family-owned newspaper in the United States published under the same name.  The 12,000-circulation daily newspaper was purchased in 1947 by the Mitchell family.  The Herald is the only paper in Vermont to be honored with journalism’s highest award, the Pulitzer Prize, for its editorials on the debate over civil unions in 2000. In the last decade, the newspaper has also won dozens of awards for advertising, layout, reporting, public service and general journalistic excellence. Several of the Herald’s reporters and editors have gone on to win Pulitzers at other newspapers as well.  Publisher John Mitchell and his son, Rob, who is editor, are featured in Saving Community Journalism, along with General Manager Catherine Nelson.

Deseret News Logo

The Deseret News, founded in 1850, is a 90,000-circulation daily in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It is one of three divisions in the Deseret Management Corporation, which is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  When Clark Gilbert, former Harvard Business School professor, became CEO of the corporation in 2008, he chose to pursue an aggressive transformation strategy that involved separating the print and digital divisions in the company, and allowing each division to compete for advertising from community businesses.  This strategy was featured in a recent report by the Pew Research Center.


The Santa Rosa Press Democrat is a 55,000 circulation paper that covers the wine-growing Sonoma region of northern California.   Purchased by the New York Times Company in the 1985, it was recently sold to a group of local investors.  Under then-publisher Bruce Kyse, who is featured on this website and in Saving Community Journalism, the paper gained a national reputation for its innovative approaches to digital community journalism and advertising.  The Press Democrat won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for its news photography.

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The Washington Daily News, an 8,000-circulation daily newspaper that covers Beaufort County on the coast of eastern North Carolina, was founded in 1872 and was recently sold by the family owners to Boone Newspapers, Inc. of Alabama. In 1990, the Daily News became the smallest daily newspaper ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.  The award was granted in recognition of its extensive coverage of water pollution problems in the coastal community. Former President and Publisher Ray McKeithan is featured in Saving Community Journalism.


nanceNancy Adler is Head of Global Marketing and Communications at Institutional Shareholder Services, the global leader in corporate governance.  She leads all branding, marketing, creative services and media relations activities at the firm.  Prior to this,  Alder spent more than 25 years in sales and marketing positions within general and business news organizations such as CNBC, MSNBC, Crain's New York Business and Dow Jones, where she re-engineered the international go-to-market strategy for the print and digital editions of the Wall Street Journal Europe and Wall Street Journal Asia editions.  She specializes in the creation of integrated marketing solutions that drive cross-platform revenue within media organizations.

allegraAllegra Jordan, managing director of Innovation Abbey, is a writer and global innovation consultant. She led marketing at USAToday.com for four years and has taught innovation in sixteen countries and five continents through her consultancy. Her work has appeared in USA Today, TEDx, and others. A graduate with honors of Harvard Business School, she was named a top executive under 40 in Austin, TX and Birmingham, Alabama. Her first novel, Harvard 1914, will be released this August.

bruceBruce Kyse is a consultant in the newspaper industry. He was publisher of the Santa Rosa Media Group from 2005-2013. The Media Group, which was owned by the New York Times until 2012, included the Press Democrat, North Bay Business Journal, Petaluma Argus-Courier and the PD Media Lab.  From 2000-2005, Kyse was Vice President for News and Digital for the 14-paper Times Regional Newspaper Group headquartered in Tampa, Florida.  Prior to that he was co-founder and publisher of Winetoday.com, and executive editor of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat from 1990-1999.  He served twice as a jurist on the Pulitzer Prize selection committee and during his tenure as editor The Press Democrat won the Pulitzer Prize for Best News Photo.

lamMargarita Lam is director of Strategic Initiatives and Analysis at NBC Universal, where she works on corporate-wide strategic initiatives that includes the Film, Broadcast, Cable, Digital and Theme Parks divisions.  Prior to that, she held strategic and operational roles at Time Warner, including overseeing the editorial business operations of People magazine and relaunching PeopleEnEspanol.com.   She has deep management consulting experience , including stints at Deloitte & Touche Consulting, and Booz, Allen’s Media & Entertainment Practice, and has an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a Master’s in Business Administration from Columbia University.