Local goes global: Reporter Jake Frankel departs Xpress

Photo of Jake Frankel by Max Cooper

After a five-year run at Xpress, Jake Frankel will be leaving soon to accept a position as executive editor of The Prem Rawat Foundation, a project-based nonprofit helping to bring food, water and peace to people around the world. He says he’s excited to be able to put his journalism skills to use — not to mention getting the chance to help people in far-flung places.

“It’s been an honor to serve our community by highlighting important issues and debates, as well as some of the quirkier things that make Asheville a fun place to live,” says Frankel. “I really appreciate how my role at Xpress allowed me to engage in this awesome community on so many different levels.”

Frankel’s journalism won six North Carolina Press Association awards – more than any other staffer in Xpress‘ history. Readers also voted him one of the area’s top reporters in every Best of Western North Carolina poll between 2011 and 2014. He leaves behind a diverse body of work that includes multimedia arts coverage, in-depth investigations and the pioneering use of social-media platforms that extended Xpress‘ reach.

“Jake will be missed, for his journalistic skills, his love of community journalism, his knowledge of Asheville and his personal presence,” says Xpress publisher Jeff Fobes.

Managing Editor Margaret Williams agrees, noting highlights from Frankel’s work over the years — such as his 2011 cover story, “Mountain Shame: Remembering the Marion Massacre.” The story won first place in the NCPA awards for News Feature Writing.

In his new role at The Prem Rawat Foundation, Frankel will help spread the word about the nonprofit’s humanitarian and peace-education programs, which stretch from the Americas and Europe to Africa and India.

“This organization is transforming lives across the globe and I’m super excited to be part of it,” says Frankel.

The Foundation is based in Los Angeles, Calif., but Frankel will primarily be working remotely from his home here in Asheville.


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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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25 thoughts on “Local goes global: Reporter Jake Frankel departs Xpress

  1. Leslee Kulba

    Jake served the community with remarkably thorough and accurate coverage. I am happy he has found such an amazing new job.

  2. Josh Awtry

    Jake! I’m happy for you, but so sorry to see you leave the local news biz. You covered Asheville like a pro, and the community was better for the dots you connected and journalism you did. I’m glad you’re still going to be around town, but we’ll miss you!

  3. John Boyle

    Way to go, Jake! Sounds like a great job, although I’ll miss your reporting at the Xpress. And yes, I meditated on this before posting.

  4. Grant Millin

    I look forward to doing more with the Sustain Asheville / Sustain WNC platform. I’d like to see us selling and developing our local sustainability capabilities, and linking up better with the external state, nation, and world around us.

    I’m glad you’ll still be in town to share your new global insights, Jake.

  5. Sorry to see you go. You were a real asset to the paper and I’m sure you’ll be an asset to your new employer as your journey widens.

  6. Rosanne Friedlander

    Congratulations. Jake. I hope very much that you enjoy your new role. I volunteer for TPRF, it sounds like we really lucked out to have you on board.

  7. Neil Frye

    Hi Jake. Congratulations on your new position at TPRF. I am a volunteer for PEP and am liaison for WOPG TV here in Cape Town. There are some pretty exciting times and changes for the good ahead for us here and everywhere I feel! I look forward to some excellent journalism on the TPRF website. Best wishes.
    Neil Frye

    • Jake Frankel

      Hi Neil, thanks! I’m looking forward to working with you to help spread the word about all the good work TPRF is doing!

  8. Suzee Kaanoi

    Hi, Jake, nice to meet you through this article. Just happened to come across it. I, too volunteer for TPRF, and I look forward to seeing you soar in your newest venture. Best of luck!

    • Jake Frankel

      Hi Suzee, thanks for introducing yourself. I hope we’ll get a chance to work with each other down the line.

  9. Jean Paul Peretz

    Welcome from another TPRF volunteer for the Peace Education Program in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
    Great things are happening and need to be told well. It will be great to have a professional journalist telling them.

    • Jake Frankel

      Great to hear from you Jean, thanks so much! I had a friend recently visit San Miguel de Allende and he says it’s an amazing place. Hope to see you there one day.

  10. Nooo! Jeff Frankel was such an awesome reporter. But it’s exciting to see he’s moving on to another wonderful career. Wishing him lots of luck :)

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