Two longtime Mountain Xpress employees, staff writer Brian Postelle and managing editor Jon Elliston, have announced plans to leave the publication for other work.
Postelle, who started writing for Xpress in 2002 and became a staff writer in 2006, will start a new job next week. He’ll serve as a public-relations specialist for the city of Asheville. (Staff writer David Forbes has already taken on Postelle’s former beat — Asheville city government — a role he moved into shortly before Postelle put his name in the hat for consideration by the city.)
Elliston, who started contributing to Xpress in 2003 and was hired as news editor in 2005 and subsequently became managing editor, will depart the publication in mid April. He plans to devote most of his energies to completing a book about a short-lived summer camp that was attacked and run out of the state in 1963. The project was born in the pages of Xpress in the summer of 2008, when Elliston wrote the four-part series Cruel Summer: The Attack on Camp Summerlane, which garnered a North Carolina Press Association award for investigative reporting.
“I begin work for the city on Wednesday, March 24, and am excited about expanding my experience working in Asheville and staying connected with the changes the city will undergo in the future,” Postelle said. “As I’ve said to the Xpress staff, it has been deeply fulfilling to write for this publication for the past eight years and to be part of an Asheville institution that is so important to many in the community. There is only a handful of people across the country who do what this group does, putting an amazing amount of energy into this kind of publication. I know that spirit will continue in the future,” he said.
“This is a very bittersweet move,” Elliston said. “I’m so proud of the work we do at Xpress, and grateful for the myriad ways my role here has helped me engage and understand our community. And I can’t imagine a better bunch of colleagues than the ones I’ve worked with here.
“I had dreamed of writing this book in my spare time, but that’s proved impossible. It’s a story that’s begging to be told, and it’s become clear that in order to do it right, I’ll need to make it my primary endeavor for at least six months or so. That said, I’ll be staying in Asheville, and look forward to helping out Xpress in any way I can,” Elliston added.
As noted in last week’s Xpress, multimedia editor Jason Sandford has also left the publication, to focus on his popular blog, Ashvegas. With these shifts in our editorial department, we’ll soon be hiring one or more journalists. If you’re interested in applying, see the job description here.
Xpress Publisher Jeff Fobes said, “These are major changes in our news staff, which have put us all in high gear. We’re losing some strong news personnel. But Xpress has come through a number of staff changes over the years — and we’ve managed to learn and grow from them.”