WNCN-TV political reporter Kim Genardo will become Gov. Pat McCrory’s new communications director.
Genardo replaces Chris Walker, who announced his departure three weeks ago after less than a month on the job. Walker said at the time that he was leaving to return to his family in Nashville, Tenn.
Genardo has worked as an anchor and reporter at WNCN, also known as NBC-17, since 1998. Among the many campaigns she has covered over the years were both of McCrory’s runs for governor. She did a one-on-one interview with McCrory for WNCN 10 days ago.
Genardo said she has had job offers from politicians from both parties in the past, but wasn’t ready to leave journalism until now.
“This is a new and exciting direction for North Carolina. It’s historic,” she said. “So I think that this new team will do a lot of good things for North Carolina.”
A native of Chicago, Genardo graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and worked at TV stations in Clarksburg, W.Va., and Evansville, Ind., before coming to North Carolina as a weekend anchor at WGHP in Greensboro.
It’s not unusual for political journalists to go to work for people they once covered. McCrory’s predecessor, Bev Perdue, hired two News & Observer political reporters, Benjamin Niolet and Mark Johnson, to work in her press office in 2010.
As communications director, Genardo will oversee internal and external communications for the governor’s office and will be involved in policy discussions. In announcing her appointment, McCrory’s office cited her work as a journalist.
“Kim Genardo is a very talented professional who has a wealth of experience in media and covering state government,” McCrory said in a statement.
Genardo, who lives in Apex, starts her new job on Wednesday and will receive an annual salary of $120,000.