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SMITHFIELD — The Johnstonian News has moved its office from Kenly to Smithfield and hired Scott Bolejack to serve as editor, President and Publisher Keven Zepezauer announced this week.
The newspaper is leasing space at 614 E. Market St. inside the East Market building, which is home to other businesses including First Mutual Insurance Co. and Triangle Insurance and Benefits. Office hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment.
“As we work toward expanding the Johnstonian News into a countywide newspaper, we felt it was important to establish a physical presence in the county seat,” Zepezauer said. “The new office allows us to be centrally located between all the cities and towns we cover. We’re excited to join the downtown Smithfield business community and we think this will help the newspaper continue to grow.”
The Johnstonian News was previously based at 201 W. Second St. in downtown Kenly. The Wilson Times Co. purchased the Kenly News and its zoned editions in Selma, Princeton and Pine Level from former owners Rick and Karen Stewart in August 2018. The four titles were combined into one weekly edition under the Johnstonian News banner.
In 2019, the paper expanded its news coverage and circulation into Smithfield and The Wilson Times Co. partnered with The Daily Record of Dunn to create Restoration NewsMedia, a joint venture company overseeing eight community newspapers. Benson and Four Oaks have long been part of The Daily Record’s coverage area, and its stories are now shared with the Johnstonian News.
“As we widen our scope to include more of Johnston County, we want to reassure our subscribers and advertisers that we’re adding, not subtracting,” Zepezauer said. “We’ll maintain strong community news coverage in Kenly, Micro, Princeton, Pine Level and Selma just as the former Kenly News and its sister titles always have. While the office has moved, we’re not leaving northern Johnston County behind.”
Bolejack started work Monday and joins reporters Steve Reed and Keith Barnes and sports editor Jack Frederick in the Johnstonian News’ Smithfield newsroom. He’s a 32-year veteran of the News & Observer Publishing Co., with most of that time spent as a reporter and then as editor of The Smithfield Herald, which ceased publication in 2017.
He succeeds Corey Friedman, who’s served as the Johnstonian News’ editor since the paper’s acquisition and is based in Wilson as Restoration NewsMedia’s executive editor.
“Scott’s knowledge and expertise in covering Johnston County is second to none, and we’re excited to have him on board to lead our newsgathering efforts here,” Friedman said. “As Johnston keeps bursting at the seams with new residents and businesses, Johnston County’s local newspaper is growing with it.”
Bolejack graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1983 with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and religion.
His wife, Susan, a retired teacher and school librarian, is a part-time tutor at Glendale-Kenly Elementary School. Their daughter, Kristin, is in her second year of teaching first grade at Four Oaks Elementary School.
Bolejack has spent the past 14 months as a reporter for the Four Oaks-Benson News in Review, the newspaper that launched his Johnston County journalism career.
“I am appreciative of the 14 months I spent at the News in Review but am looking forward to returning to a newspaper that is countywide in its scope,” Bolejack said.
Coinciding with the move to Smithfield, the Johnstonian News has modified its staff email addresses, which now use the johnstoniannews.com domain. Contact information for the staff is as follows:
• Scott Bolejack, editor, 919-424-1776, email@example.com.
• Steve Reed, reporter, 919-710-5549, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Keith Barnes, reporter, 919-740-6834, email@example.com.
• Jack Frederick, sports editor, 252-265-7824, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Debra Denton, customer care, 919-424-1775, email@example.com.