Last week it was announced through Jay Nolan’s column that he was stepping away from his role as publisher of The Mountain Advocate, and turning over the reins of the newspaper to me. I’m not one that is left speechless very often, but lately I have been.

I am in my 16th year working for my hometown newspaper. I’ve done a little bit of everything around here. I’ve worked with a lot of you over the years — either through the newspaper or the print shop services we offer.

When the decision was made to bring me back into the role of editor of the newspaper in August, I was ready to handle the job much better than I was in 2016. Now, just three months later I find myself in the big seat, and while I am a big guy, this seat is overwhelming at times. I’ve always had a firm grasp of the importance the local newspaper is to its community. Knowing the future of the newspaper now rests on my shoulders almost entirely is a lot to take in. But, I know that the nerves are normal, and I’m ready for the challenge.

I appreciate Jay’s leadership over the years. He has taught me a lot of what I know about the newspaper industry. He’s been a great mentor, and I feel more prepared for this role than I have maybe any other I’ve had within the company in my 16 years here — 11 of which I’ve worked for Nolan Group Media’s ownership. So, I’d like to say “Thank you” to Jay for being a great teacher and placing his confidence in me to take care of his newspaper. He has a lot of work to do, so I hope not having to worry as much about us will ease his mind some and free him up to champion community newspapers at a much higher level as Kentucky Press Association President and CEO of Nolan Group Media.

I’m also appreciative of our Chief Operating Officer Glenn Gray for having confidence in me to do a good job as well. Glenn has his hands full too, but he has nothing to worry about with his Barbourville newspaper.

I am ready for the job because of the experience and knowledge I’ve gained over the years, but also because of the staff I have in place. I certainly can’t do it all on my own, and I’ll put my reporters and advertising staff against anyone in our region anytime.

If you have a concern or would like to talk, please reach out to me. My office phone number is 606-546-9225, and my e-mail is

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Charles is a native of Barbourville, Kentucky. He has worked with The Mountain Advocate in various capacities since 2003.

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