Originally posted: May 30, 2012, 3:25 p.m.
Last updated: June 7, 2012, 6:03 p.m.
CHARLOTTE – qnotes has announced a series of staff changes as current editor O’Neale Atkinson departs and former editor Matt Comer returns to the position. Atkinson will be stepping down to pursue a full-time position with The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte while Comer will be leaving his position with Campus Pride to return to qnotes.
“O’Neale has a great passion for the LGBT community in Charlotte and it has shown with his work here,” said qnotes Publisher Jim Yarbrough. “We’ll miss him and look forward to working with him through his work at the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte.”
Hired in January, Atkinson is a native of South Carolina and has lived in Charlotte since June 2011, where he has also worked part-time as administrator of the LGBT Community Center. Prior to moving to North Carolina, Atkinson completed his Masters in Social Work at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He has worked with a number of organizations in South Carolina on social justice issues and is eager to work as an advocate for the LGBT community in Charlotte. Atkinson has served as part-time administrator for the Center while working as editor for qnotes.
The Center has announced that for the first time in over four years they will have a full-time staff person. Atkinson has been promoted from his part-time position as Center administrator to operations manager and now has a full-time schedule. The Board of Trustees is very pleased that Atkinson has accepted this position and will continue the great work he has done to grow and build the Center into a truly unique place in the community.
In his new role, Atkinson will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of the Center. He will also take on new responsibilities expected to positively impact the LGBT community in Charlotte. Board Chair John Stotler said, “I cannot think of anyone that the board would trust more with the continued growth of the Center. O’Neale is a perfect fit for the future and we expect that the Center will grow exponentially with his guidance.”
“Being a part of the qnotes staff for this period of time has been an excellent opportunity for me,” said Atkinson. “My work with the paper has allowed me to very quickly become more knowledgeable about the Charlotte LGBT community and has served to further my dedication. I am excited to be able to follow my passion and work more extensively with The LGBT Community Center of Charlotte. I believe both the Center and qnotes deserve dedicated and passionate staff who will help both entities grow; I cannot think of a better person for qnotes than Matt.”
A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Comer was hired as qnotes’ editor in October 2007. He served in the role until January, when he stepped down to work as communications manager for Campus Pride, a national, Charlotte-based LGBT organization serving college and university students.
“My short time away from qnotes has given me opportunity to honestly explore my professional interests and personal passions,” said Comer. “I am excited to return to qnotes and renew my work in community and advocacy journalism on behalf of LGBT Charlotteans and North Carolinians. My part-time work with Campus Pride this spring was both fulfilling and enlightening. The work they do is important and I urge every member of our community to offer them your generous support.”
Campus Pride, the nation’s leading educational organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBT students, announced that with the departure of Comer, they will be actively looking for his successor. Comer will step down from the organization on June 15 to return to his position as editor of qnotes.
“Though his time with our organization has been short, we have enjoyed having Matt on our staff,” said Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer. “Matt has contributed much to our communications strategy and we wish him well as he returns to working as editor of qnotes. I know that journalism is Matt’s first love and passion. We wish him well and appreciate his support of Campus Pride and our important work on college campuses across the country.”
Comer will remain with Campus Pride as an independent consultant working on the organization’s planned online overhaul of its website.
“I am deeply committed to the mission and vision of Campus Pride,” said Comer. “Though national in its scope, Campus Pride’s presence in Charlotte and in North Carolina is a blessing for our community. I look forward to working with Shane and Campus Pride’s board in creating new opportunities for outreach through a new and expanded online presence.”
A job description for the part-time Campus Pride position is available online at campusprideblog.org/blog/job-opening-campus-pride-seeks-new-communications-program-manager.
Comer is the recipient of the 2008 Ed Madden Media Advocacy Award from the South Carolina Pride Movement and was named in November 2011 as Equality North Carolina’s “Equality Champion” for the Charlotte region. He attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and last year enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he is completing his studies in American history and politics. : :