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This post was sent to paying subscribers of The Ledger on Sunday, April 5, 2020.
Ledger brings aboard experienced journalist amid growth; update on coronavirus coverage
I have some exciting news about the growth of The Ledger, and because you’re a paying subscriber, I wanted to share it with you before I announce it publicly.
This week, The Ledger is bringing on board a managing editor, our first full-time addition since starting more than a year ago. It’s a big moment, and we’ve found the perfect person to help guide The Ledger’s growth and to keep giving you the smart, original local news you have come to expect. Her name is Cristina Bolling. You are going to like her — and many of you probably already know her and her work.
For the last 20 years, Cristina has been a writer with The Charlotte Observer, where she has covered a variety of topics: government, immigration, style, culture, the arts. She has reported from Blackhawk helicopters over Outer Banks hurricane destruction, from behind cars during oxycontin drug busts and from the floors of textile mills on the outskirts of Mexico City. She has introduced us to fascinating people, like millionaire fashion Instagrammers and a Ballantyne dad who traded in his IT job for a career playing videogames. One of my favorite pieces Cristina has written was her 2016 story of a personal journey, when she accompanied her mom and aunt back to Cuba, which they had left as children in the early 1960s at the beginning of the Cuban revolution.
Before the Observer, she was with the Associated Press in upstate New York, where she covered then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer as well as Hillary Clinton’s first senate run. She’s also a regular contributor to Charlotte magazine. Over the years, she has won a boatload of reporting and writing awards. You can see that Cristina is talented and versatile. She’s a pro. She knows Charlotte.
I’ve known Cristina since we worked together in the Observer’s Gastonia bureau in 2000. I know her to be a gifted storyteller, a dogged reporter, an innovative thinker and — most importantly — an all-around nice person with a good sense of humor. She understands Charlotte because she has lived here for two decades and is raising her family here. She lives in Ballantyne with her husband, James, and their three children — and a new puppy, Risa (whose photo you might have seen in a recent Ledger article).
She’s a graduate of James Madison University in Virginia, with a master’s in journalism from Syracuse. Cristina has had a remarkable career at the Observer. The Ledger is fortunate to bring her on board.
I asked Cristina to share with you why she is joining The Ledger. Here’s what she said:
After 20 years of reporting in Charlotte, I’m excited to join the Ledger because my passion is giving people news they need to know, in a way that’s honest, timely and smart. The Charlotte Ledger audience is a community of engaged, informed readers, and I’m excited to build a relationship with you — to tell you stories you won’t find anywhere else, to surprise you, and sometimes, to make you laugh. Tony and I are committed to making the Ledger something you see as essential to your life in Charlotte.
Reliable, local news has never been more important, and The Ledger is building an experienced team that can give it to you and explain what it means. Our roots are in business coverage, and we’ll remain true to that focus. But as you’ve seen in our coverage over the last few weeks, we’re not afraid to pursue important and interesting local stories, no matter their subject.
Cristina will be writing a lot and will help manage The Ledger in all areas as it grows. Her first day is tomorrow. Please feel free to drop her a line, welcome her and pass along any ideas. I told her Ledger readers are a supportive and dedicated bunch and could be expected to show her the love. Her email address is email@example.com.
A couple other staffing notes: Tim Whitmire, contributing editor, has been a regular writer for The Ledger and in recent weeks has helped with the planning and editing of coronavirus coverage. With a background in journalism and finance, Tim has been a key strategic editorial and business advisor to the Ledger since its inception a year ago. His CXN Advisory business supports leaders of early-stage and high-growth organizations. In addition, last month, The Ledger brought on an intern, Queens student David Griffith, who has quickly been thrust into coronavirus coverage and has done solid work, with more on the way.
Finally, I’d like to thank you again for being a paying subscriber. Because of your support, The Ledger has been able to provide thorough coverage of the effect of the coronavirus on our community. At this crucial time, we’ve been able to produce editions every day for the last three weeks — coverage that goes beyond the rising number of confirmed cases and remarks from health officials — to explain to you what is happening and why. And we’re able to add an ace like Cristina in the middle of this crisis, which will be a huge help. None of that happens without your support.
The loss of advertising revenue is going to hurt many local media organizations. The Ledger, however, is actually well-positioned for times like these, when people need reliable news and insight. Our value proposition is straightforward: We provide information, and if you find it worthwhile, you subscribe. Our paid subscriptions have been growing steadily the last few weeks, even in the face of economic uncertainty, and provide a broad base of financial support. I’m grateful to the freelance writers (many of them former Observer colleagues) who have stepped up with ideas and smart articles on this rapidly changing story. And I’m thankful to all of you, for passing along ideas and encouragement.
— Tony Mecia, executive editor
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The Charlotte Ledger is an e-newsletter and web site publishing timely, informative, and interesting local business news and analysis Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, except holidays and as noted. We strive for fairness and accuracy and will correct all known errors. The content reflects the independent editorial judgment of The Charlotte Ledger. Any advertising, paid marketing, or sponsored content will be clearly labeled.
Editor: Tony Mecia; Contributing editor: Tim Whitmire