Steve Bouser goodbye 10.jpeg

Pat Taylor, center, and Steve Bouser, right, talk with former Pilot ad director and columnist Tom Bryant at a retirement party held last week at The Pilot's office in downtown Southern Pines. 

In this business, like many today, change is about the only constant you can count on. And yet, until recently the senior staffing at The Pilot had been remarkably stable for a long time.

Publisher David Woronoff already had a pretty seasoned senior leadership team when I came aboard six years ago. Our advertising department — the rainmakers who make sure I have money to spend on journalism — was helmed by newspaper veteran Pat Taylor. Even my immediate predecessor, Steve Bouser, stayed on in a part-time role managing the paper’s Opinion section.

For more than six years, I’ve benefited from their experience as managers, and I’ve been able to learn from them a tremendous amount about community journalism.

I mention the two of them in particular because we just recently feted both as they stepped down and into quasi retirements. I say “quasi” because each will still be connected to us, albeit in new roles.

For all of Pat’s talent at selling advertising space — and he sold a mountain of it — he was an equally skilled journalist. His writing and photo galleries have been welcome contributions over the last few years. Through the lens of his camera he could find moving beauty, whether it was a local eagle’s nest or abandoned trains on an out-of-the-way sidetrack.

Pat has been a leader statewide and in his community. A couple of years ago, he was president both of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce and the N.C. Press Association. And while he won’t be in the office as much, Pat will remain connected to The Pilot. He’s going to be traveling the state working on some special projects that we’re slowly building for future initiatives.

Our advertising department is now in the very capable hands of Ginny Trigg, who most recently managed the advertising for our magazines. Ginny has been with us 11 years and has been very active in the community, including the Southern Pines Business Association and Moore County Leadership Institute.

We also said goodbye last week to Steve Bouser, who came here as editor in 1997. He held that job until I got here in 2012, when he “sort of” retired to take on the part-time job of Opinion section editor, all while continuing to teach introductory journalism classes at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

It’s hard to say enough about Steve’s leadership and what he has done for The Pilot over the years. Our look today is due in part to a professional redesign he oversaw a number of years ago. He shared David’s passion to make The Pilot the best community newspaper in America, and they achieved it together twice. Steve led award-winning coverage of everything from golf to the mass shooting in Carthage almost 10 years ago.

Steve’s commitment to the community and its causes is his prime legacy. He’s also not going far; we won’t let him. He’s agreed to keep writing columns for us on the Opinion pages, so you’ll still get to enjoy his perspectives.

Although none of us are irreplaceable, we won’t be replacing Steve for now. For the past year or so, I’ve been writing most of The Pilot’s unsigned editorials — the paper’s official position on issues of the day. In addition to that duty, I’ll also be overseeing the columnists and the letters to the editor, jobs that I have quickly found Steve made look easy.

So while we’ve experienced a bit of change in these two key positions, we promise to keep constant our mission to produce one of the best community newspapers in the nation.

That distinction, bestowed on us by the National Newspaper Association of America the last three years, is one we hold dear.

But accolades are meaningless if we’re not meeting your expectations of community journalism and producing successful products that we and you can be proud of. Our efforts toward that end will never change.

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