Thanks for Quinney’s work as chair, publisher

The Charlotte News Board of Directors — in conjunction with staff, volunteers and former board members — would like to thank John Quinney for his outstanding service to the paper and community as publisher and chair of the board since 2021. This is John’s last week in these volunteer roles, although he will remain on the board.

Even avid readers of The Charlotte News may not appreciate all that John has done for the paper. He took over at a fraught time. The editor had just quit, several board members had resigned, and John, among the few survivors of this unfortunate series of events, took over as publisher and chair of the board.

John Quinney

Working largely behind the scenes, John centered editorial independence at the heart of the paper’s operations, adopted a code of ethics, developed a conflict-of-interest policy and clarified how we distinguish between reporting and personal commentary by those associated with the paper. John hired our first full-time editor, Scooter MacMillan, and clarified the relationship between publisher and editor.

In addition, John drew on his extensive private-sector career to place the paper on a more professional and financially secure footing. He replenished the board, established board committees to focus on key challenges and with Bill Regan, led a strategic planning effort. John expanded our digital content and working with Anna Cyr, our production manager, John led the effort to improve and rebuild our website and boost the number of subscribers to our weekly email newsletter. With help from board member Claudia Marshall, he leveraged the paper’s non-profit status to boost fundraising and secure grants.

John’s tenure at The Charlotte News was so successful in part because he took the time to really listen to Charlotters about their community and the paper’s role in it. He involved a lot of townspeople, which allowed them to have a say in the paper’s evolution and win their respect for John as its head. Building on this approach, John launched a reader survey with an unprecedentedly high response rate and instituted single-issue surveys, including the one currently open on the town administrator-town manager question.

John was especially good at getting Charlotters to understand that the “free” paper that appears in their mailboxes and inboxes biweekly actually costs about $150,000 a year to produce and relies on skilled staff and generous volunteers to get out the door. Publishing The Charlotte News is a team sport, but it is not too much of a stretch to say that there might not have been a paper to publish without John’s hard work, dedication and overriding desire to see Charlotte become an even better community through quality local journalism.

As one former board member summarized John’s tenure: “The result, in my opinion, is that The Charlotte News is in the strongest position, financially and editorially, that it’s been in during my lifetime in Charlotte.”

The Board of Directors