It’s not often that three people resign in the same week from a newspaper the size of Indy Week. But that has happened this week, and all three are longtime employees.
The most visible departure will be Grayson Haver Currin, who has been the alt-weekly’s longtime music editor and added managing editor duties last August.
Also resigning this week were account executive Leslie Land and production manager Skillet Gilmore.
Currin and Gilmore declined to comment and Land didn’t respond to an email request for comment.
Jeff Billman, who took over as editor in chief in August, says that three people resigning in the same week from a staff that he estimated is equal to about 22 full-time employees shouldn’t throw up any red flags.
“Nobody who is familiar with the situation would think that,” said Billman, adding that there was no common thread in the three resignations. “To some degree, each situation that exists has its own special set of circumstances. There is not one sort of overarching event.
“Are people leaving? Yes. Is there some big bloodletting? No, it’s nothing like that,” Billman said. “There’s a certain amount of turnover in the business and it just happened.”
Earlier this year, the newsroom lost staff photographer Jeremy Lange, and office manager Bill Kumpf was let go. Last year, graphic designer JP Trostle, editor in chief Lisa Sorg and food editor/copy editor Curt Fields were let go. Staff writers John Tucker and Billy Ball and photographer Justin Cook also left.
Hired over that time have been Paul Blest (staff writer in Raleigh to fill Billman’s previous spot), David Hudnall (for Tucker’s spot), staff writer Danny Hooley (replacing Ball) and copy editor David Klein (filling part of Fields’ duties).
Currin, who first wrote for the newspaper in March 2003 during his sophomore year at N.C. State, announced his resignation on his Facebook page Friday morning, saying that he and his wife, Tina, plan to launch a nonprofit called Come Out & Show Them.
“There are a lot of reasons for my decision, many of which I will address through a different forum later,” Currin wrote in the post. “But one is simple: I’ve been at the INDY a long time. I’ve grown up in the place in public. I’ve failed a lot, succeeded some, learned so much, and had a hell of a great go. I’ve been very lucky and fortunate, but it’s time to try something else.
“Later this year, I will move to a new full-time journalism job, but I’m really thrilled to have this chance to pursue a project passion,” he wrote.
As production manager, Billman says that Gilmore assists with the newsroom with some aspects of editorial and design. Gilmore designs covers. But even bigger for the Indy Week newsroom will be the loss of Currin, his managing editor.
“I feel we are sort of figuring out how we’ll handle him not being there and I think we have a pretty viable game plan that I hope to finalize in the next week,” Billman said.
Currin wrote that his last day on staff will be July 4. It’s not clear when the last day for Gilmore and Land will be.
“The INDY has been a rad place to learn, and there are too many people to thank for being bosses and coworkers and sources and confidants and mentors and skeptics to even try,” Currin wrote. “But I’m very happy with what I have accomplished, and I look forward to seeing what the paper does next, without me.”