In a time of substantial change in the newspaper industry as a whole, The Pilot has continued to reinvest in its communities. This past week the 100-year old publication announced it had acquired The Seven Lakes Insider, a monthly newspaper and website serving the Seven Lakes and West End areas.
“This acquisition gives us the opportunity to serve our community more thoroughly. It’s a fast growing area and it deserves a vibrant medium to tell its stories,” said David Woronoff, publisher of The Pilot. “I’ve always admired Greg (Hankins) and look forward to building on the strong foundation that he and Janna created.”
Former editor Janna Guerra established the community-based Seven Lakes Insider and website in the fall of 2016, as a tribute and to fill the void left by the death of Hankins, the late publisher of the Seven Lakes Times. She’d lived in the community most of her life and had served as a reporter for the Times.
“Not only did Greg have an impact on the community, but the paper he printed also brought the community together,” Guerra said.
Two years ago, Guerra’s priorities began to shift from work to family as she and her husband began raising a child with special medical needs.
“Running a newspaper can be a challenge within itself. I soon learned that the impossibility of fulfilling the increasing responsibilities of both our daughter and the newspaper.
“While it has been an incredible venture, I decided I needed to let go of the Insider,” Guerra said. “I was relieved to discover that David was interested in continuing the publication, allowing me to watch it thrive from afar.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Working with David has been an absolute pleasure, and I loved the family-like setting of everyone on his team. I am hopeful and confident The Pilot will be able to pick up where I left off and expand on it in ways I never could,” Guerra said.
The Pilot, which has served Moore County since 1920, has been named the best community newspaper in America five times, including three years in a row in 2015, 2016, and 2017 by the National Newspaper Association.
The Pilot and its staff won more than 40 news and advertising awards — including first place in general excellence for the second year in a row — last month in the annual N.C. Press Association awards. The general excellence awards are the highlight for each division and recognize the overall work of the paper. The Pilot previously earned the top award last year and in 2017 and 2010. The Pilot placed third in the general excellence category in 2019 and in 2015.
In addition to its newspaper division, The Pilot owns Business North Carolina, the state’s only monthly business magazine; Charlotte’s SouthPark magazine; Greensboro’s O.Henry magazine; Raleigh’s Walter magazine; Pinehurst’s PineStraw magazine; First Flight digital marketing agency; The Sway; and The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines.