Dispatch has new publisher

Jan. 13, 2014 @ 09:38 PM

The Dispatch’s editor has added a new title to his job description.

Alan Wooten will remain editor and replace James Edwards as publisher, Rick Bean announced Monday. Bean is the president of the North Carolina division for Paxton Media Group.

Edwards, who was publisher since 2004, recently accepted the communications director position at Vance-Granville Community College. Bean preceded Edwards from 1994-2004.

“James spoke very highly of Alan, and he always has,” Bean said.

Edwards hired Wooten as editor of the Dispatch in April 2012.

“As editor, he has not disappointed me but actually brought such a great deal of experience and knowledge,” Edwards said. “He has such a passion for community journalism that I personally feel like I hit a home run when I hired him. For him to have an opportunity to be editor and publisher is a very good thing for the community. No one wants to see this paper succeed more than me. It’s my hometown paper and I love it very much. I think he is an excellent selection for this role.”

Wooten is a state and national award-winning journalist in each decade since the 1980s, including at the most recent N.C. Press Association banquet. He has been published every year since beginning his career in 1977 at The Farmville Enterprise.

While at The Ashe Mountain Times, he initiated an opinion page and a sports page. His freelance work has appeared coast to coast, including in seven of the 200 largest newspapers in the country.

Wooten said he is grateful for the opportunity to work as publisher.

“The people in Henderson really welcomed me when I first came here,” he said. “I think it’s a really good community. This paper has had strong leadership and I hope to continue that.”

Wooten, a 1987 graduate of Elon University and a native of Farmville, handled daily duties in New Bern for the editorial page, the website, the food section, news and supervised the sports department. He has also worked at The Free Press in Kinston as a copy editor, as a sports editor at The Wilson Times and The Daily News in Jacksonville, and as a sports writer for The Daily Reflector in Greenville.

“We have a good team here that cares about the community and is dedicated to what they are doing,” Wooten said. “All that we do is a reflection of the entire team.”

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.