Friday, May 24, 2024

Up front: 35 years

The same year this magazine was created, I was an 11-year-old kid trying to get my head wrapped around the fact that I was living in south Florida. My father had just completed his Bagehot Fellowship at Columbia University’s journalism school, and I had been living with him in New York City while my mom and sister stayed home in Winston-Salem.

After we returned to North Carolina, he quickly landed an editing job at The Miami Herald’s Broward County bureau. In 1981, we hit the road and headed to Fort Lauderdale.

Growing up in a newspaperman’s family is similar to being an Army brat in that we moved around quite a bit. I lived in Burlington, Winston-Salem, New York City, Fort Lauderdale and Charlotte before I turned 16. I attended 10 different schools in that time. Needless to say, I had to learn to adapt to change, and I became pretty good at it. I made friends in most places and found that packing up and moving was pretty much the norm. I look back fondly on my many travels and adventures; it truly helped shape me.

This magazine has been pretty darn adaptable as well. It’s been through five different owners as well as numerous editors, sales reps, art directors and support staff. I don’t think we’d be in the place we are today if it wasn’t for my father, who moved our family to Charlotte in 1985 to enter the magazine business. During his 29 years at BNC, mostly as editor-in-chief and publisher,  he set the standard on which this magazine’s editorial coverage has been laid out. He was very demanding of his entire staff, but it was always for what he called the “work,”  which is the magazine in your hands. Working with him as BNC’s account manager, general manager and finally publisher, I learned a lot about integrity, accuracy and courage.

We’ve weathered recessions, natural disasters and personal tragedies over the last 35 years. Through it all, we have remained consistent in our coverage of North Carolina and the people, business and trends that make up its incredible economy.

Man, has that economy changed over 35 years! Our state has seen declines in industries such as textiles, furniture and tobacco as well as boom times for banking, energy and life sciences. We’ve seen incredible population growth in Charlotte and the Triangle and declines in our rural areas. The media industry is changing at a pace that I have not witnessed since I started working for the Raleigh News & Observer in the early 1990s. Print and broadcast now share the media stage with digital. More information is available for the business community, and there seems to be less time to decipher and digest it.

While the means by which people consume media has expanded drastically, we have tried our best to provide North Carolina’s business leaders with thoughtful, accurate and entertaining content. The magazine has been a wonderful platform for telling the stories of entrepreneurs, CEOs and “movers and shakers” in the Tar Heel economy. We have shared their experiences, stories and impact, both good and bad. Through all the changes, we have remained consistent in that mission.

To Business North Carolina readers, I truly appreciate your interest in our magazine, this state and its economy for the past 35 years. Thanks to our advertisers who have supported this magazine by seeing the value in a unique product. And especially, thanks to everyone who has sold advertising, written stories, corrected addresses, uploaded our websites, emptied the garbage and everything else we have asked. I am blessed to have worked with each of you.

We are grateful to Frank Daniels Jr., who has been an investor in BNC three times. He and our other owners, including President David Woronoff, are enabling us to tackle many different and exciting ventures. From events, blogs and e-newsletters to enhanced coverage of North Carolina’s industries, we have more ways to provide important coverage of business in this incredible state. Thanks for taking the journey with us.

Ben Kinney
Ben Kinney
Ben Kinney is publisher of Business North Carolina magazine. You can reach him at

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