Up Front: May 2006

Are you experienced?
As managing editor of The Charlotte Observer, a job he held 13 years, Frank Barrows ran a newsroom 250 people strong. As Business North Carolina’s new executive editor, he supervises three editors — four, once we fill a vacancy — and tries to keep an editor in chief at least somewhat focused and on task. Small in number we might be, but we’ve spent a combined 161 years in journalism, probably one of the most experienced staffs of ink-stained wretches you’ll find working anywhere.

Among the assets Frank, 59, brings is not just the length but the breadth of his experience. During his 33 years with the newspaper, he worked as sports columnist, basketball writer, projects reporter, assis-tant metro editor, executive sports editor, deputy metro editor, assistant managing editor/local news and deputy managing editor. He was one of two editors who directed coverage of Jim Bakker and the PTL scandal, which won the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 1988. While he was managing editor, The Observer was twice a Pulitzer finalist. Oh, and during a long-ago two-year respite from the paper, he freelanced for The Atlantic Monthly, Southern Living and Golf Magazine, among other publications.

His take on why he took this job: “When I left the newspaper, I found myself wanting to try my hand at something different. I turned down some job possibilities that presented themselves to me because they didn’t feel quite right or didn’t really excite me. But Business North Carolina did excite me — it was an opportunity to be involved with excellent journalism and learn about what is for me a whole new kind of print publication. I’ve read the magazine for years and always admired its quality, so I was pleased when David called me to talk about working here.”

I consider it a coup worth crowing about. Veterans though we all are, we’ll gain a lot from working with one of the state’s best, brightest and most respected newsmen. But who will benefit most will be our readers, as Business North Carolina moves to the next level under his leadership.