On the Beat

Indyweek staff turns over with departures

The staff is shifting at Indyweek, which had three employees announce their resignations this week. The most prominent departure will be Grayson Haver Currin – the Triangle weekly’s managing editor/music editor and one of its most visible writers for more than a decade.

In existence since 1983, Indyweek is the Triangle’s most prominent alternative publication, with a circulation of 32,000 and 21 full-time employees. It’s owned by Mark Zusman and Richard Meeker (also owners of Willamette Week in Oregon), who bought the paper from founder Steve Schewel in 2012.

Along with Currin, the other employees leaving are production manager Skillet Gilmore, who is leaving in August to become a freelance artist; and advertising account executive Leslie Land, who is coming to the News & Observer.

Rumors of further departures from Indyweek were also swirling around social media this week. But publisher Susan Harper said she was unconcerned, and already at work on finding replacements.

“I don’t think there’s a problem,” Harper said. “There’s rumors whenever anything happens. We all do that.”

Currin officially announced his departure at Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum during its monthly “Creative Mornings” gathering on Friday, during a presentation about creative activism. As an outgrowth of their various political actions including the anti-House Bill 2 “Air Horn Orchestra,” the Currins (Grayson and his partner/spouse, writer Tina Haver Currin) are incorporating as a nonprofit called Come Out and Show Them.

“As of next Friday, I am quitting my job at the Indy, and Tina and I are gonna go climb two mountains,” he said. “Then we’re gonna come back and start working on this nonprofit.”

In an interview afterward, Currin said he would also soon be starting another job that he declined to identify.

Now 33 years old, Currin began writing for the paper when it was The Independent in 2003, while a student at NC State University. Currin joined the paper’s staff full-time right before graduating in 2005, overseeing coverage as music editor while writing a lot of it himself – occasionally outraging the local rock populace.

“I recognize that I have been a polarizing person, to put it politely,” Currin said. “Through all that, the Indy stood behind me and said, ‘You do you.’ It’s been a privilege and an honor. I really have been the luckiest dude.”

Last August, when editor Lisa Sorg was fired and replaced by current Indyweek editor Jeffrey Billman, Currin also became managing editor while expanding into restaurant coverage.

“It essentially became about four full-time jobs, and I enjoyed them all,” Currin said. “But it was too much for one human to do at a sustainable level for that amount of money.”

As for Gilmore, who is also an acclaimed drummer in bands including Whiskeytown and Patty Hurst Shifter, he’s been at Indyweek for almost nine years. He had also been considering leaving for a while.

“I don’t think anybody’s surprised Grayson quit or I quit,” said Gilmore. “It was just about time. I think some other people there are biding their time to see what shakes out over all this. But I’m gonna strike out on my own and I hope I’ll find out I could’ve been making twice as much all along.”

David Menconi: 919-829-4759, @NCDavidMenconi