Bill Church column: Shaffer column, Western Wake newsletter


News & Observer reporters Josh Shaffer and Kristen Johnson

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has 16 personality types. News & Observer journalists are divided into 16 types of socionics, namely A. theoretical processing of information into personality types; or B. future “Danger!” answers.

The newsroom works well because not everyone thinks or acts the same way. We have introverts, extroverts, thinkers and feelers.

And we have Josh Shaffer and Kristen Johnson.

They fit their category: Super Chill.

We brag about Josh and Kristen because Super Chill personality types sometimes hide in the shadow of their own spotlight.

Here’s why we brag:

  • We’re bringing back Josh’s column, which will run Mondays in print and 24/7 for a digital audience. Josh knows how to tell unique, local stories you’ll want to share with friends and family. The good news is that you’ll still see Josh’s byline throughout the week in his general reporter role.

  • Kristen is the lead writer for The Western Wake Report, our newest community newsletter focused on growing areas of the Triangle. (You can sign up for the newsletter at newsobserver.com/westernwake) Friday morning bulletin focuses on news and events in Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Holly Springs and other Western Wake communities.

Josh Shaffer

Josh’s story is as interesting as the ones he’s written over the years. Here’s how Josh describes it: “I grew up mostly in Maryland, but wandered south in 1996 and showed up unannounced at the N&O door. The editor at the time wouldn’t let me in, even though I bought brand new shoes for the occasion, so I took the shoes back to Belk and got a job at the Sanford Herald instead.

“That led to Fayetteville, where I met my fellow journalist wife Amber — an N&O alum — then to Texas and eventually back to the N&O in 2004. I didn’t have to buy new shoes a second time.”

Josh Shaffer with his son, Sam, and his wife, Amber Nimocks. They are on the grave of Captain Beers in Delaware. [email protected]

He covered city hall, courthouses and a dozen hurricanes. He also wrote about sewer monsters, Raleigh’s No-Hand King and how breaking Duke star Zion Williamson’s shoes made sense.

Are you surprised that Josh plays the trombone in his neighborhood marching band? Or that he can build treehouses? And can juggle?

That’s why his column is just what we need when everyone seems nervous these days.

Kristen Johnson

Kristen didn’t need new shoes or juggling skills to impress the editors. We were fans of her work in Fayetteville and did our best to bring her home.

Kristen is a student at Panther Creek High School in Cary. She was a freshman when the school opened in 2006 and graduated in the class that completed all four years there.

Kristen Johnson Scott Sharp [email protected]

Kristen studied political science at UNC Charlotte and considered law school before deciding to pursue a master’s degree in journalism at American University.

Journalism is a legacy for Kristen. Mom worked at The Richmond-Times Dispatch and Dad at the Richmond Free Press. Her proud parents live in the Triangle.

Kristen has a cat named Gus and is an avid artist. Her interests fit well with the changing dynamics taking place in western Wake County.

BILL CHURCH 2021.jpg
Bill Church, Executive Editor of The News & Observer Scott Sharpe [email protected]

“The Western Wake Report is an opportunity for me to connect with readers one-on-one and learn more about Western Wake County in an effort to continue to provide news that won’t go unnoticed there. I want to keep readers up to date on events, top stories, government affairs, new developments or business in the area,” says Kristen.

We’re excited to see what Josh and Kristen accomplish as the changes are about increasing value for subscribers like you. Both seem to be slowly turning their attention away.

Maybe they’re Super Chill. But we are super proud.

Bill Church is executive editor of The News & Observer. He is very excited to attend the State Fair.

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