The steady diet of News & Observer food stories from Andrea Weigl will end this month.
After 17 years at the newspaper, Weigl, who is the assistant features editor and food writer, is leaving to become an associate producer for Markay Media.
The Durham-based company produces the award-winning PBS program “A Chef’s Life.” She will be a writer and do research for the upcoming season as well as for other film projects of documentary filmmaker Cynthia Hill, the director of Markay Media. Hill directs and produces the show.
Last month, The New York Times wrote about Vivian Howard, the Kinston chef behind the show that last year finished its fourth season.
Although she’ll still work with food content, this will be quite a career shift for Weigl.
“It’s going to be challenging and fun, I think,” said Weigl, who became familiar with her future co-workers when she wrote a feature on the show in June 2014. “That’s when I first met them and they’re both just lovely and I’m excited to go work for them.”
Filming for the show is done all over eastern North Carolina.
“From what I understand, I’ll need to be on-site for some of the filming and so it will be a different schedule for me,” said Weigl, who wrote a cookbook called Pickles and Preserves.
Weigl began at The N&O in 2000, and covered the Wake County Courthouse for four years. She was a legal-affairs reporter for three years, became the food writer in 2007 and became assistant features editor in January 2015.
She writes for the Home & Gardens, Food, Weekend and features sections. In addition, she oversees the feature department’s social-media accounts and maintains a recipe site where readers can find recipes that have appeared in the newspaper.
This week, she wrote a food story that also was a media story. Indy Week’s restaurant critic was refused a meal at a Raleigh restaurant, and she talked to the critic and the chef, as well as getting reactions from others.
“I think personally for me, I just got kind of burned out and hit a wall,” she said of her decision to leave The N&O. “I started looking, and this opportunity came out of the blue. I had mentioned to Vivian that I was looking two months ago.”
She said that the workload was the main reason that she decided to look for opportunities.
Her last day at The N&O is Feb. 21.
The Herald-Sun loses UNC beat writer
After 14 years at The Herald-Sun, John McCann left last week to become the public relations coordinator for the Chatham County Schools.
McCann, who has won multiple N.C. Press Association awards, was in his third school year as The Herald-Sun’s UNC beat writer. Before that, he was its N.C. Central beat writer and, for a number of years, was a news columnist. He was a columnist and feature writer for one year at The Herald-Sun ending in 1999, then spent three years as a columnist and reporter at the Orlando Sentinel before returning to The Herald-Sun in 2003.
“I have nothing bad to say about The Herald-Sun,” McCann said. “The folks there were great to me.”
UNC’s home game Tuesday against Pittsburgh marked the first time in decades that there was no reporter or photographer from The Herald-Sun, The Durham Morning Herald or The Durham Sun at a Tar Heels home basketball game.
Steve Wiseman, sports editor of The Herald-Sun and its Duke beat writer, said that McCann will be missed.
“He’s a talented journalist who was a valued colleague and will always be a good friend,” Wiseman said. “We were better with him on our staff. With the uncertainty that accompanies any corporate changes, though, I understand his decision. I wish him only the best. “
Andrew Carter, the UNC beat writer for The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer, will now provide UNC men’s basketball and football coverage to The Herald-Sun. Similarly, Wiseman’s Duke stories have been appearing more often lately in The N&O.
“As for UNC and Duke beats, no firm decisions have been made. We’re still working our way through the process,” Wiseman said. “The good news is we are currently utilizing the combined resources of both staffs. With us all working under the same umbrella, it ensures Herald-Sun readers will have access to robust coverage of both schools in the paper and especially online.”
Unlike The N&O, the Durham paper consistently has covered all Duke and UNC women’s basketball home games. The Herald-Sun’s N.C. Central beat writer, Jonas Pope IV, covered the Tar Heels’ women’s victory Sunday against N.C. State and will likely cover that team since its home games don’t conflict with NCCU games.
Photographer leaves Herald-Sun after less than a year
Herald-Sun photographer Kaitlin McKeown, who joined the newspaper in March, will leave this month for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., to become a video journalist. The Pilot has a circulation roughly six times higher than the Durham paper.
The last day at The Herald-Sun for McKeown, who previously worked for the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., and the Triangle Business Journal, will be Feb. 17. Her first day at the Pilot will be Feb. 27.
“I have just always respected and admired the visual journalism that they do at the Pilot and it’s always influenced the work I’ve done and how I’ve grown as a photojournalist,” she said. “I’ve always hoped to work with them one day, so I’m really grateful that that opportunity has come along.”
It will be a big career shift going from still photographer to video photographer.
“It’s completely different from what I’ve done in the past,” she said. “Video and multimedia has always been something that I’ve really enjoyed, so I’m excited for an opportunity to both work in a very talented newsroom and continue improving at something that I really enjoy.”
She had nothing but praise for the journalists she has worked with at The Herald-Sun.
“It’s been fantastic,” McKeown said. “They are absolutely wonderful people that work on the staff at The Herald-Sun and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to work with everyone in the newsroom. There’s some uncertainty as to what the future holds, but the staff will continue to do great things.”
When McKeown leaves, longtime photographer Bernard Thomas will be the only full-time photographer on the staff.
“We’re still reviewing how The N&O and Herald-Sun will work together, as well as whether and how vacant positions will be filled and whether they will be re-defined,” said John Drescher, the executive editor of The N&O.
In addition to McCann and McKeown, reporter Keith Upchurch retired from The Herald-Sun in December. At The N&O, Weigl leaves later this month and Jill Knight, who was a staff photographer and social-media specialist, left last month for WRAL.
Indy Week fills Durham reporter spot
Sarah Willets started Tuesday as Indy Week’s Durham reporter.
Willets comes to the alt-weekly from The Robesonian, a newspaper in Lumberton, where she had been managing editor since June 2015.
Willets, who grew up in Carrboro, was an intern at The Village Voice for four months in 2012 and at the New York Daily News for five months in 2012.