Former editor leaves lasting legacy


Jeff Herrin, who was the editor of the Rocky Mount Telegram and The Tarboro Weekly, died Monday. He was 60 years old.


Herrin worked at the Telegram for 25 years and made a large impact on his co-workers and the region he served. Taking over the Telegram in 1993, he re-invented the newspaper’s content and coverage as well as the way the newsroom operated on a daily basis. He also created The Tarboro Weekly, providing the town of Tarboro with a local news source that it had been lacking.

"He demanded the highest degree of fairness, objectivity and journalistic ethics from his staff, while at the same time creating a truly fun and creative environment that brought out the best work from his team, current Telegram editor Gene Metrick said about Herrin. “After working under Jeff for nearly 20 years, I now strive every day to continue and build upon what he set into motion — and believe me, that's not easy to do."

Co-workers listened to Bruce Springsteen all week to commemorate Herrin, who loved Springsteen’s music. Many will miss Herrin’s friendship and the mentor he was.

Herrin began his journalism career at the High Point Enterprise as a sports writer. After a decade at the Enterprise, he became an editor. Then, he became the managing editor of the Opelika Auburn News in Alabama before becoming editor of The Evening Telegram, which would later become the Rocky Mount Telegram. He stayed at the Telegram until he retired last year.

Herrin filled the pages of the Telegram with stories about municipal government, schools, crime and business news. He focused on publishing community news with a people-first focus. The sports department grew, and the paper flourished under his supervision.

Keep reading to find out more about the legacy Jeff Herrin left.