Pilot Welcomes Lentz to Staff
John Lentz jumped at the chance to work for The Pilot.
The veteran reporter is familiar with the newspaper because his parents are longtime subscribers.
“My parents live in Richmond County, and they have had a subscription to The Pilot ever since I was young,” Lentz said. “I always appreciated the quality of the writing and wanted to be a part of the paper. When the opening became available, I didn’t hesitate to apply.”
Editor Steve Bouser said Lentz, who joined the Pilot staff on Monday, will be a valuable addition.
“John is a real pro who understands community journalism from the ground up,” Bouser said. “We are lucky to get him. He will fit in great with the rest of the staff, and because of his experience covering county government and schools, he will be able to hit the ground running.”
Lentz will cover Moore County government, education and Whispering Pines. He comes to The Pilot after a four-year stint with The Laurinburg Exchange in Scotland County.
He mainly covered county government and nonprofits. He also wrote features and covered stories about city government and schools, among others.
He fills a vacancy on the staff left when Senior Writer Florence Gilkeson retired in January after 30 years with The Pilot.
Lentz said he is very familiar with Gilkeson, who also worked for the Exchange.
“I definitely know who she is,” he said. “The lady I replaced in Laurinburg, Dot Coble, was the woman who replaced Florence.”
Staff writer and photograher Hannah Sharpe, who previously covered education, will devote more of her time to photojournalism, multimedia and digital pursuits.
Lentz said he hopes his well-rounded work and life experiences will help him provide readers with a unique style of reporting the news.
“I look forward to communicating the news to The Pilot readers,” Lentz said. “I hope my combination of creative writing and straightforward news writing will be a good combination.”
Lentz grew up in Richmond County. He attended Sandhills Community College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before earning a degree in American Indian studies with a minor in communications from UNC Pembroke.
Before completing his degree, Lentz spent time seeing the world. He lived in Japan and San Francisco and even worked on the Mississippi Queen, the second-largest deep-river steamboat ever built.
He says the knowledge gained from those life adventures make him a better reporter.
“Having a variety of experiences has been very enriching,” he said. “And meeting a lot of different people throughout the world has given me a a broader outlook.”
Lentz began his newspaper career as a teen when he worked for the Richmond Senior High School newspaper.
After graduating from college, he moved to Lumber-ton, where he was a features editor for “Extra Slice,” a free paper that was part of the Red Springs Citizen and the St. Pauls Review.
After 12 years in Lumberton, Lentz worked with the Cumberland County Library in Fayetteville for a few years before accepting a job with the Laurinburg Exchange.
A married father of two, Lentz, when he isn’t working, describes himself as a “big reader” who also enjoys cycling.
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com.
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