Veteran newspaperman joins RCP

Published 9:58 am Thursday, July 21, 2011

AHOSKIE – Michael Leonard has joined Roanoke-Chowan Publications in Ahoskie as publisher. His first day on the job was Monday, July 18.

Leonard brings 20 years of newspaper management experience, most recently as publisher of The Journal in Seneca, S.C. Prior to moving to Seneca in 2008, he worked 17 years for Athens, Ga.-based Community Newspapers Inc., advancing from editor and publisher of the company’s smallest weekly, in Marion, S.C., to regional publisher at dailies in Rockingham, N.C., and Lake City, Fla.

“I am very excited to be joining Boone Newspapers and the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index,” Leonard said. “BNI has a great reputation and is known for quality journalism. My goal is to work with the professional journalists already on staff and take it up a notch. With hard work, enthusiasm and intelligent choices, we can do great things.”

“We are pleased to welcome a publisher of Michael’s experience and competence to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald and Gates County Index. He complements an outstanding, experienced team in Ahoskie and will hit the ground running in his new assignment,” said Steve Stewart, Vice President of BNI who oversees five company properties from his office in Franklin, Va.

Leonard, 56, grew up in Rockville, Md., a suburb of Washington, DC, and went south for college, graduating from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

He and his wife, Deborah, have four children: Matthew, 23, Hillary, 22, Phillip, 19 and Gifford, 17. All four are competitive swimmers, with the older three attending Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC on academic and athletic scholarships. Matthew graduated in May with a degree in communications and will be working for one year before beginning an MBA program; Hillary is a rising senior, majoring in philosophy and theology; Phillip is a rising pre-med sophomore; and Gifford is a rising high school senior.

Mrs. Leonard is a home-schooling mom who previously worked as educational psychologist and diagnostic evaluator for the South Carolina School for the Deaf, Blind and Multihandicapped. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., and a Master of Science in Educational Diagnostics and Special Education from Vanderbilt University.