4 local media minds to watch in 2019

4 local media minds to watch in 2019
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Local media is changing, fast — and the pace is accelerating going into 2019.

As legacy business models collapse, it’s a fascinating time to be in local media. Don’t forget, with death comes birth.

It’s also exciting to see more media entrepreneurship in our city. Here’s a quick list of four local media minds to watch in 2019.

Ryan Pitkin, Founder & Editor-In-Chief of QC Nerve

A little over a month after the entire Creative Loafing staff was abruptly let go, Ryan debuted QC Nerve, a new publication focused on music, art and culture.

The first print issue was just released — 15,000 printed copies distributed in more than 500 locations. Moving forward, it’ll be a bi-weekly print publication.

And QC Nerve has already snagged longtime Creative Loafing advertisers like The Fillmore and Uptown Cabaret.

Honestly, I couldn’t be more impressed with the fast execution.

What to watch: In tough media environment, will QC Nerve be able to build a sustainable business model and household brand?


Joe Bruno, Reporter at WSOC

“He’s a natural reporter,” Mike Oliveira, News Director at WSOC told me. “He’s tireless. He’s always digging, always asking the right questions. His commitment to the work and his natural curiosity make him a go-to reporter in our newsroom.”

The Washington Post recently wrote a story featuring Joe’s reporting on the North Carolina Congressional election mess, and you may have seen this 26-year-old reporter talking about the election on CNN and MSNBC.

Joe is one of the most naturally likable journalists I’ve ever met. The dude’s got it, and now he’s showed up on the national stage. Joe has the chance to become the journalistic voice of the city, and WSOC is the best local media outlet to make that happen.

What to watch: With 15,000 Twitter followers, a growing reputation amongst young Charlotte, and a strong reputation for deep reporting — will WSOC brand Joe so that he becomes the best-known journalist in Charlotte?

Glenn Burkins, Editor & Publisher of Qcitymetro

Qcitymetro’s mission is to be the leading source of news, opinion and other information relevant to the region’s thriving African-American community.

In 2019, Glenn told me that he’s looking to increase coverage on the westside around gentrification and reader engagement.

Glenn has grown the brand for 10 years, and I’m digging the new ways he’s executing advertising programs with the publication.

What to watch: Will Qcitymetro’s revenue continue to grow so that Glenn can reinvest in the business?

Kristen Wile, Founder & Editor of Unpretentious Palate

Kristen Wile left her role as editor of Charlotte Magazine to start Unpretentious Palate, a subscription-based food and drink publication (it’ll run you $5.99/mo).

Our city has very little media entrepreneurship, and I love that Kristen, a journalist with NASCAR and The Washington Post on her resume, decided to launch a straightforward, subscription-based offering.

“I was uncertain about how people would respond to a subscription-based product, but the support has been fantastic,” Kirsten told me. “People really value expertise and openness, and are willing to pay for content when they can trust the person it’s coming from.”

She wouldn’t share her subscriber count with me, but she did share, “I’ve set subscriber goals for myself and reached them all so far. Not to jinx it, but there’s a good chance we’ll be profitable in year one.”

Back of the napkin math: If Kristen can gain 2,000 subscribers, that’s roughly $144,000 in high margin revenue.

What to watch: Will Kristen be able to grow and retain subscribers? Will she inspire other local journalists to start subscription-based products?


Kristen Wile at Unpretentious Palate’s preview event at Sweet Lew’s, photo by Peter Taylor and courtesy of Unpretentious Palate

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