REIDSVILLE — Susie C. Spear has been named RockinghamNow Editor by Lee Enterprises, the media company that owns the paper and its parent publications, the Greensboro News & Record and the Winston-Salem Journal.
“Susie is a talented journalist with a lifelong connection to the Rockingham community,” said Greensboro News & Record Executive Editor Cindy Loman, to whom Spear will continue to report.
“We are thrilled to have her at the helm of the RockinghamNow newsroom team.”
A native of western Rockingham County and fourth-generation journalist, Spear grew up working in her family’s weekly newspaper, The Messenger, in Madison. Her family sold the paper in the mid-1980s.
Spear, 57, joined the staff of RockinghamNow in August 2018. Before that, the UNC Journalism School graduate worked for 25 years as a reporter, bureau chief, and section and society editor for Deep South daily newspapers.
“I am delighted to be back in my home county and working in community journalism during such a critical time of development for our bountiful rural landscape,’’ Spear said.
“My aim will be to put focus on the rich personality of Rockingham County, its dynamic people, development, the beauty of its rivers, traditions and gracious living,’’ Spear said.
“At the same time, I want our staff to help readers understand the many hardships our county faces: a poverty rate above the state average, a high number of uninsured and underinsured residents, inadequate nutrition for thousands of children and elderly, epidemic opiate addiction, concurrent with the pandemic, and a stubborn resistance to social distancing measures.’’
RockinghamNow will further strive to reflect the issues of the day with diverse voices, welcoming more Letters to the Editor and seeking to feature a variety of guest columnists to discuss the county, state and nation’s most pressing subjects, Spear said.
“I look very forward to meeting many more folks and listening to new ideas as we build up your local paper,’’ Spear said.
During her tenure at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., Spear joined an award-winning investigative team reporting on the scourge of crack cocaine in rural Mississippi. She went on to spearhead in-depth reporting on veterans suffering from Persian Gulf War Syndrome. As head of the paper’s Gulf Coast Bureau near Biloxi, Spear wrote about the Dixie Mafia and covered federal court, military installations, fisheries, and riverboat gambling.
The longtime Society Editor and columnist for the Mobile Press-Register, Spear joined the Advance Publications-owned Alabama daily in 1994 as a feature writer and editor of the paper’s High Profile weekly section.
Now a Madison resident, Spear is the mother of fraternal twin daughters, Carol Lily and Tallulah Rose Cloos, and enjoys following their academic journeys at N.C. State and UNC, respectively.
When she’s not at the paper, Spear can be found decorating cakes, hand-painting shabby chic furniture and practicing her cello.