Learn more about Roanoke Times editor Joe Stinnett in our Q&A:
Hometown: Lynchburg, Va.
College: University of Virginia
Why journalism: I always loved to read, plus my dad was a printer and linotype operator so I grew up around newspapers. As an English major, I was not overwhelmed with job offers and becoming a reporter seemed like a fun and interesting job.
Years in journalism: Almost 40.
What I like about Roanoke: First of all, the beautiful surroundings and the friendly people I have met so far. I am also impressed with the development of the downtown here, where I am living. My wife and I are really looking forward to getting to know the city and exploring the area, not only in and around Roanoke but also the Blacksburg/Christiansburg area (she’s a Tech grad) and the many small towns and rural areas that are such important parts of the region.
Other newsrooms where you have worked: The News, The Daily Advance, The News & Advance, Amherst New-Era Progress, Nelson County Times. The first two were the morning and afternoon papers in Lynchburg back in the day and were combined into the current N&A.
Proudest journalism accomplishments:
1. All the great relationships I have developed with my colleagues and co-workers over the years.
2. Being hired as editor of the Roanoke Times.
3. Editing, researching, and helping tell the individual stories of each Bedford soldier killed at D-Day, the first time this had been done since World War II, and was published prior to the book …
Journalists you admire and why: Ben Bradlee and Hunter S. Thompson. I came up in the 1970s during and after Watergate, and I still think that Ben Bradlee, the former Washington Post editor, is pretty much the role model for the rest of us for his guts and sense of humor. As someone wrote in a column when the Post was sold recently, Bradlee bet the franchise on a couple of rookie reporters, believing them when they said the president of the United States was lying. Doesn’t get any better than that. Hunter S. Thompson because of the way he could write — not just politics but straight description — and for the way he broke the mold even of the New Journalism of Tom Wolfe when he came along. And his insane lifestyle just added to the glamor. I am nothing like Bradlee or Thompson, but they are my faves.
Websites you visit regularly: New York Times, Art Daily (interesting pictures and art news), Jim Romenesko (newspaper gossip), Dusty Groove (obscure records and CDs, great descriptions), Expecting Rain (Bob Dylan fan site), the Roanoke Times and The News & Advance, of course.
Favorite books: Classic novels would be “100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and “Go Down, Moses” by William Faulkner, among others. Recent novels, “Telegraph Avenue” by Michael Chabon, “Train Dreams” by Denis Johnson, and “The Son” by Phillip Meyer. All of Cormac McCarthy’s books. Recent non-fiction, “To End All Wars” by Adam Hochschild and “Bloodlands” by Timothy Snyder. Also Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin, and most of Stephen King’s books.
Favorite movies: “Casablanca,” “The Godfather,” “Goodfellas” … Non-network TV is better than the movies now in my opinion, so let me mention “The Wire,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Treme” as favorite TV series.
Favorite apps: Instagram, Camera +, iTunes
Favorite music: Like books, too much to name, but here goes: Currently listening to a lot of Texas country rootsy-type stuff, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Joe Ely, Townes Van Zandt. Dave Alvin, although he is from California not Texas. Also love jazz — Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sun Ra, etc. Also, anything from Stax/Volt. (soul-rootsy funk). James Brown, Marvin Gaye. Also, Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe, Carter Family, Hank Williams. Plus older blues like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. Roots reggae. I’ll stop now, I pretty much like everything except pop country and current Top 40-type stuff.
Interests outside of work: Mainly, my wonderful family — my wife, Ellen, my two grown sons and our daughters-in-law and grandson. Our two cats, as well as pets, animals and wildlife in general. I like to read and listen to music obviously, and also like to hike the Appalachian Trail, and ride my bike when time allows. Photography. Did I mention craft beer too?
Interesting fact about you that few know: First thing I wrote that was published was letter to the editor of The Avengers comic in the mid-’60s. I received a personal reply on a postcard from Stan Lee. Later, I sold my collection of hundreds of Silver Age Marvel comics to buy a small tape recorder for interviews when I got my first newspaper job. Included almost straight runs of Fantastic Four, Spiderman, etc. One of many dumb things I have done over the years.