Cheryl Carpenter, who rose from a cub reporter at the Gaston Gazette to managing editor of The Charlotte Observer, was named Wednesday as Washington Bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.
Carpenter, 58, replaces Jim Asher, who is joining the Injustice Project, a journalism startup.
“Charlotte and The Charlotte Observer have both been good teachers to me,” Carpenter said. “I’m proud of the journalistic standards I have from the Observer.”
Rick Thames, Observer editor, said Carpenter has been a force at the Observer for 32 years, mostly in leadership positions. “She has demonstrated an unflinching commitment to journalistic excellence and a hugely generous spirit in helping other journalists achieve that excellence.”
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Thames said he would begin searching for a successor to Carpenter immediately.
A journalism graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, Carpenter joined the Observer in 1983 as a copy editor. She moved through the ranks as state editor, business editor, assistant managing editor and deputy managing editor. She was named managing editor, the No. 2 job in the newsroom, in 2005 after returning from a Harvard University Nieman Fellowship. In 2010, she earned a master’s degree in organizational development from Queens University of Charlotte.
Carpenter will lead the 40-member Washington staff at a time of redeployment. McClatchy is closing its five foreign bureaus and shifting resources to improve regional coverage for its 29 newspapers and related Web operations, including the Observer, The News & Observer of Raleigh, The Herald of Rock Hill and The State of Columbia.