Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jenny Boone, Two Others Leaving Local Daily

Jenny Boone
Chris Winston
Roanoke’s daily newspaper is again losing significant institutional memory after being hit by major defections from the newsroom. Leaving for other jobs are New River Valley editor Chris Winston and star business reporter Jenny Kincaid Boone, one of the most productive reporters in the annals of the paper.

Also leaving, from the reports I'm getting, is veteran sports copy editor Buddy Wright. Rumors are rife about why he left, but I can’t find anything to confirm that he was fired. One local daily employee said, “He’s been on super secret, hyper-level probation for as long as I can remember.”

The popular Jenny (a long distance runner of some note and a truly talented and nice young woman) will return to her alma mater, Roanoke College, to work in public information. She leaves the local daily May 18. There, she joins former Roanoke daily editorial writer Leslie Taylor). She will write for the RC Web site and for publications of the department.

She had been with the local daily since 2002, beginning as an editorial assistant (right out of Northwestern, where she earned her master’s). She became a business writer in 2003 and has been there since. Her production has been high and of solid quality and replacing her story output will be an enormous challenge.

Winston has been all over the place. He was business editor and sports editor, both briefly. He ran a Virginia Tech/Landmark (owner of the local daily) Web experiment designed to be the next Facebook called (it failed). He was something of a go-to guy for a good while. He will leave May 14 to return to his home state of South Carolina to become a regional editor for AOL/Patch. He will help launch 12 “hyper-local” news sites this summer and coordinate political coverage with the Huffington Post of the Palmetto State’s 2012 Republican primary.

Internal memos that I saw mentioned Jenny and Winston, but not Wright. I’m told he didn’t even get the obligatory “left to pursue other interests.” But, hey, I can’t confirm that.


  1. Oh, I'm in a writing group with Chris. He has been an important part of the NRV. We'll miss him greatly.

  2. Chris is bailing from a rapidly sinking ship, the Big Drip -- otherwise known as the New River Current. It pretends to have news in it, but most of the time it relies on reader-submitted cutesy pictures of babies, animals, and nature to fill space. The folks in the New River bureau had in their grasp a major story with the collapse of the Blacksburg High School gym, but opted to blow off a lot of the coverage it could have done. Instead it just parroted what it was fed from press releases and handouts from the school system. It wasn't until someone tipped them off about what the Blacksburg building inspector found that it became apparent that a FOIA request was in order. Even at that, the reporting has still be pretty much just coverage of meetings, not much in-depth or going far beyond the basics. Whether that is due to what Chris has to work with or lack of support from downtown isn't know, but it looks like he is getting out while the getting is good.

  3. I love Jenny. Love her. Talk about work ethic. When she was on the clock, she wouldn't send out personal e-mails, forget about checking facebook or loitering around the watercooler. She's so passionate about writing. Oh, and has a fashion sense leaps and bounds above other journalists. Roanoke College is lucky to get her.

  4. Sally:
    Everything you say about Jenny is exactly right, even the part about dressing nicely. The words "journalistic fashion" form a classic oxymoron normally. Journalists often consider big-boy(girl)dress-up to be to be clean jeans and a shirt that has been ironed within the week. Much worse than engineers and not much better than people living under bridges. (And, hey, I speak from experience here.)