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Bill Kirby Jr.: We’re old school journalists along Breezewood Avenue


Over here along Breezewood Avenue, we like hearing from our readers and subscribers.

You always have a voice with us.

We’re busy these days at CityView's news website and CityView magazine, where our editorial offices overlook Breezewood. Busy with a new executive editor in Bill Horner III; a new managing editor of CityView Today in Maydha Devarajan; two new full-time reporters in Evey Weisblat and Char Morrison; and a Fayetteville State University student-intern developing his skills as a journalist.  

Bill Horner is a seasoned journalist with a background in news going back to his days when his father and grandfather served as publisher of The Sanford Herald, and where our new executive editor worked part time as a youngster, went full time with the Lee County-based newspaper after graduating in 1985 from the University of Kansas and spending 18 years as publisher and finally its publisher and editor until retiring in 2016. Bill Horner’s grandfather was founder of the newspaper. Along with two business partners, Horner acquired the Chatham News and Chatham Record in 2018 and was publisher and editor until the newspaper was sold in May.

“We’re working to expand CityView’s reporting and storytelling resources and are considering changes to the website and newsletter that will better serve our reading audiences,” Horner says, and I’ll let him tell you about all of that as Horner settles in to take over the news side of CityView Media, while Bobby Parker will devote himself as editor to our monthly CityView magazine.

Horner is bringing along Maydha Devarajan, who worked as a reporter at the Chatham News and Chatham Record. She is a Julian Bond Fellow and former editor of The Daily Tar Heel at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

We also are partnering with The Assembly, a statewide organization with Kyle Villemain at the helm that will focus on bringing statewide news and information and dedicated to strengthening local reports in the community and the Sandhills. It’s just another news source in our news toolbox to keep our subscribers and readers informed.

And BTW, our talented correspondents Greg Barnes, Gary Mangum, Jason Canady, Jami McLaughlin and Hannah Lee are with us, too. 

Remembering ‘The Times’

Busy, you bet we are, with the municipal primaries and general elections ahead, the Fayetteville City Council debating what to do about a recent rash of juvenile crime, how to approach community gun violence and homicides, keeping abreast of what the city and county are doing to address community homelessness, and the holiday season is coming fast.

Busy as we might be, we’ll never be too busy for you, our loyal subscribers and readers.

It’s been a while since Mark McLamb sent an email about our column back in the summer about the 50th anniversary of The Fayetteville Times, the morning newspaper that launched on July 2, 1973.

“I very much enjoyed your column about The Times,” McLamb writes. “My wife said you have to read Bill Kirby’s column. I finished high school at Terry Sanford in 1973 and well remember the Times. My dad loved to read the paper, and when he got a chance to have two papers a day, he loved it. He read every page. I guess, because of him,  I got a love for reading it, too, and I still get it, but my wife and myself very much enjoy CityView. It was special for you to remind people who the ones were that made” The Fayetteville Times “such a great newspaper back then. I know what it's like to pour yourself into something wanting to be the best.”

McLamb says he owned a construction business for 40 years, while also working 30 years with Cumberland County Schools.

“I had to start at the bottom but worked my way up to general maintenance supervisor and retired in 2020, which I’m very proud of,” he says about his employment with the school system. “I know what you all did back then was astounding. Job well done.”

All the credit, Mr. McLamb, to Ashton Lilly, Virginia Lilly Yarborough, Charlotte Lilly Broadwell, Dohn Broadwell and Ramon Yarborough of Fayetteville Publishing Co., all who were the board of directors and had the courage to bring a morning newspaper to this community.

And accolades to seasoned editors led by Tom English Jr., our managing editor; Roy Parker Jr., our editor; Ken Cooke, our photo editor; and Larry Cheek, the daily columnist who became the face and the voice of the Times. And not to forget those young and aspiring journalists Penny Muse, Ann Ebeling, John Prince, Tommy Horton, Perry Jenifer, Brian Stokes, Nancy Szokan, Luke West, John Pittman, Dennis Rogers, Bill Scarborough, Jack Timme, Kitty Leach, Dot Sparrow, Eve Oakley, Dennis Patterson, Johnny Horne, Steve Aldridge, Harry Abernathy and Add Penfield Jr.

Recently, we celebrated a Fayetteville Observer, Fayetteville Times and Fayetteville Observer-Times reunion, and of more than 225 former employees from all departments, three of our original Times members attended to include Tom English Jr. and Dennis Patterson. The reunion was nostalgic. The reunion was poignant. How we all wish Ramon Yarborough, our publisher, had lived to share in the reunion.


Corporate America has changed the landscape of newspapers and how many newspapers report the news.

It has become more lax, lame and lean.

Maydha Devarajan, our new managing editor for CityView digital, can attest, having done research for the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media at UNC, where Devarajan helped produce a 2020 report on “news deserts” and communities with no local newspaper in the U.S.

Along Breezewood Avenue, we’re not of that “news desert” ilk.

“We remain committed to the belief,” Tony Chavonne, our publisher, says, “that an informed public builds a better community.”

You’ll find us covering all we can in this community, from city and county government to education to health care to Fort Liberty, and not to ever forget the people and personalities who make Fayetteville and Cumberland County what and who we are.

We’re old school, and when it comes to journalism, I’m as old school as it can get, because I’m one of those Fayetteville Times journalists, and I learned from some of the better journalists along my journalism way.

And every voice when it comes to our CityView subscribers and readers is important, and you can be assured you’ll always have a voice with CityView, and with me.

Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961.

The CityView News Fund is a nonprofit organization that supports CityView’s newsgathering operation. Will you help us with a tax-deductible donation? 

Fayetteville, local news, newspapers, journalism, news coverage, news deserts