Founder Pitt says he’s selling The Chronicle

Owner and Publisher Emeritus Ernie Pitt symbolically hands over the reins of The Chronicle to James Taylor Jr. at The Chronicle’s Community Awards Gala on Saturday, March 25.

Founder Pitt says he’s selling The Chronicle
March 30
07:30 2017

Photo by Todd Luck

New ownership coming to the city’s oldest  community newspaper



While standing in front of nearly 500 people during The Chronicle’s annual Community Awards Gala last weekend, longtime owner and Publisher Emeritus Ernie Pitt announced the sale of the city’s oldest community newspaper.

“Besides my family, it has been this newspaper. But it has become time at 71 years old that I give up the reins,” he said.

Pitt started the weekly newspaper in 1974 after earning his degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In an editorial dated Sept. 6, 2015, Pitt said on his days off while working at the Greensboro News and Record he would travel to Forsyth County to lay the groundwork for what would become the Winston-Salem Chronicle Publishing Company.

Today, the weekly paper reaches a circulation of 7,000 and focuses on positive news, and issues that may be overlooked in and around Winston-Salem.

The Chronicle also hosts several community events, including the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Prayer Breakfast, Lash/Chronicle Junior Varsity Basketball Tournament and the Community Awards Gala. The Chronicle is also responsible for the monthly magazine For Seniors Only, which caters to senior citizens in the area.

The new pending owners, The Chronicle Media Group, LLC, is headed by City Council Members James Taylor Jr., who represents the Southeast Ward, and Derwin Montgomery, who represents the East Ward. Taylor will assume the role of publisher after the sale is finalized by May 2017.

Before presenting Taylor a name plate for his new office, Pitt said both Taylor and Montgomery had great minds and the ability to lead the way.

A Winston-Salem native, Taylor earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from North Carolina Central University in 2003 after attending Parkland High School. Currently, Taylor serves as the internship coordinator at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU).

After the announcement, Taylor said, “I will continue to uphold the legacy and traditions of  The Chronicle. For over 40 years, The Chronicle has provided a voice for those who needed to be heard. They’ve told stories that needed to be told and as publisher, I will continue to uphold those values,” Taylor said. “I’m happy to accept the mantle from Mr. Ernie Pitt and lead this organization for the next 40 years.”

Taylor said he plans to carry the same passion that inspired his work in other areas of the community for-ward to The Chronicle. When asked how the partnership came about, Taylor said after working on several issues in the community with Council Member Montgomery, he realized that their ideas and values lined up so, when he was approached by Pitt to take over, he felt like Montgomery would be a good fit as partner.

Montgomery, a 2010 graduate of WSSU and the youngest person ever elected to City Council, said The Chronicle Media Group will focus its attention on making The Chronicle a premier digital source of news.

“Print media has changed drastically over the last 20 years. The Chronicle Media Group will focus its attention on helping The Chronicle transform itself into the premier digital media source for community news and resources alongside the printed weekly,” continued Montgomery. “At the heart of this transformation will be the dedication to fair and balanced journalism, committed to the utmost integrity in all that it publishes.”

At this time, it’s unclear if Montgomery will have any daily involvement with any of the assets soon to be acquired by The Chronicle Media Group. He currently serves as the executive director of the Bethesda Center and pastor of First Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

During a brief phone interview, earlier this week Taylor mentioned to help with the transition process, Pitt will serve as a consultant. While the name of the publisher will change, Taylor assured readers that The Chronicle will still be the place to go to find out what’s going on in the community.

He said, “We are dedicated to our readers and The Chronicle staff. This is not the end of an era, but rather the continuation of a great legacy started by the Pitt family.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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