Retired longtime Observer reporter and business columnist Doug Smith will be inducted into the N.C. Hall of Fame in Journalism next month.
Smith is one of nine people who will be honored for their contributions in journalism, advertising and public relations. The ceremony is set for April 21 in Chapel Hill.
Smith, 69, said he found out about the honor in January. He said he learned that, unbeknownst to him, his wife and daughter had contacted friends, associates and readers to suggest they nominate him.
“I’m happy but kind of surprised,” Smith said Thursday. “I just figured I was one of those workaday reporters that hopefully would be appreciated by readers more than anything else. So I’m quite honored to end up in a journalism hall of fame.”
Smith, a native of Charlotte, retired from the Observer in 2009 after four decades with the paper and The Charlotte News. He held a variety of roles, including jobs as a reporter and an editor, and spent 19 years as a business columnist writing about development.
In 2005, he launched “The Next Big Thing,” a two-page spread on real estate trends across the region. The weekly feature launched during the development boom period, and Smith said he thought it was special to be able to pick the story of the week and home in on special angles about each project instead of writing a traditional story.
Since retiring in 2009, Smith has done some consulting work. He admits he has missed the deadlines and adrenaline rush of working on a big story and hearing from readers. He still gets recognized by the public, he says.
But he said he especially enjoys being able to spend more time with family – four of his grandchildren live in Charlotte – and set his own daily schedule.
“To me that’s been the best part of retirement,” he said, “just to go back and fill in the gaps of my life.”
Others being inducted into the N.C. Halls of Fame of journalism, advertising and public relations next month are:
• Don Baer, chair and CEO of Burson-Marsteller.
• Jane Brown, scholar for research into media’s influence on teens.
• Chris Hondros, the late photojournalist who covered world conflicts.
• Jason Kilar, CEO of Hulu.
• Alan Murray, president of the Pew Research Center.
• Dwane Powell, nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist for The (Raleigh) News & Observer.
• Wyndham Robertson, Fortune magazine editor.
• Stacy Wall, commercial director, winner of Directors Guild of America Commercials Award.