Our People: Hilary Funderburk

November 2, 2007

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OUR PEOPLE | Hilary Funderburk 

Hilary Funderburk has a purple belt in karate. And a black belt in advertising design.

The 28-year-old Mocksville native has an associates’ degree in Advertising & Graphic Design from Guilford Technical College and a similar certification from Forsyth Tech, but came to work at The Herald in what’s essentially an accounting position in the Retail Advertising Department. She left, briefly, but returned in 2003 and in the last year finally made the move into our production department, where she builds ads, works with graphics and photos, outputs page film and more. She’s a skilled designer and whenever the ad staff needs a special touch to an ad, they call in Hilary.

Hilary’s husband, Roger, is in the military and was stationed at Fort Bragg when she took the job here.

“I’ve been reading newspapers since I was 5, so I guess its always been a part of my life,” she said. “It’s neat to know the news ahead of time, or to get to read the comics that everyone else won’t see for two more weeks.”

In addition to her computer design and karate skills – along the lines of the “computer hacking skills, nunchuk skills…” that Napoleon Dynamite thinks are so essential – Hilary is also a talented free-hand artist who enjoys comic books and manga, a form of Japanese comics. One day she’d even like to learn the Japanese language.

Unlike most of her fellow Herald employees, Hilary isn’t a sports fan. She says she’d rather watch “House” on TV and spend time with her husband and their three cats, Chi-Chi, Little Bit and Kitsey.


Our People: Don Bailey

October 18, 2007

It’s all about the people.

We have great people here at The Herald. Here’s a chance to learn about some of them…  

DON BAILEY | Production Manager

Don Bailey

You might say that Don Bailey was scarred for life after working at The Herald.

Bailey, 63, came to The Herald for the first time in 1967, working as a linetype operator. He left about two years later to take a job at The Roberts Company, working as a press operator, but saw the proverbial light and came back in 1971 – and he’s been here ever since.

The scars? A small one on a knuckle, courtesy of a linotype machine. The large one on his right wrist came while working on the folder of the press. I was working at The Herald the summer that happened, and I’d never seen so much blood. That one earned Don a trip on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance and later, an operation. It also scared many of us half to death. When he came back to work, we were overjoyed.

With computers playing a bigger role in the newspaper industry and with the eventual switch to digital desktop publishing, Don’s role here has changed as well. He’s been the building superintendent here for as long as I can remember… Our building is so old, and that work hasn’t changed much, but the technical advances in newspapering have required that Don learn many new things. We’re all thankful he has such a great mind for the mechanics of technology. Don’s our resident computer guru, and you can bet that if it’s broken, he can fix it…and if he can’t fix it, it needs to be replaced.

Don’s cantankerous at times, and his gruffness doesn’t always do a good job of covering up a warm and compassionate heart. You get glimpses of it at times, especially when he’s talking about his dogs (he and wife Grace have three dogs, all of which are about nine years old – a golden retriever and two shar pei-cocker spaniel mixes) or Hilary Clinton. When he’s not doing production work or building maintenance here, you can find him working outside in his yard and, on most Sundays, watching the Nextel Cup race.

The digital printing age creates far fewer injuries than the old ways in our business, but still quite a few headaches. So it’s good to have someone like Don here at The Herald to keep the headaches away.  


Our People: Jamie Griswold Stamm

September 13, 2007

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Jamie Griswold Stamm has a big weekend coming up, but it’s not just because she’ll celebrate her 32nd birthday Sunday.

On Saturday, Jamie – The Herald’s Community Editor – will take part in the annual “Walk for PKD” in Raleigh. PKD, or polycystic kidney disease, is a genetic disorder that has no cure. Jamie and several generations of her family have suffered with PKD, a life-threatening disease affecting more than 600,000 Americans and an estimated 12.5 million people worldwide. (PKD, in fact, affects more people than cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, hemophilia, Down syndrome and sickle cell anemia combined.)

“Polycystic” refers to the multiple cysts that form on the kidneys of PKD sufferers. Over time, the cysts grow and multiply and increase the mass of the kidney. Ultimately, diseased kidney shuts down.

Jamie’s grandmother and mother both had severe enough cases of the disease that it required kidney transplants. Her grandmother died shortly after her transplant, but thankfully Jamie’s mom is doing well almost a year and a half after her transplant. (Jamie’s own cysts aren’t growing and otherwise she’s in good health, especially now that our redesign project is over.)

When she’s not helping raise money for the PKD Foundation or promoting another passion – organ donation – Jamie stays busy putting together what we used to refer to in our industry as the “lifestyle” pages you see in The Herald. Today that’s arts, entertainment, food, weddings and engagements, travel and more.

In addition, Jamie’s a gifted writer who happens to be married to a man who loves, like her, to cook and otherwise perform food/culinary experiments in the kitchen. (The column they write together, “Dining In” has been a big hit. Plus Jerry also writes a bit – if you missed his piece last week about do-it-yourself sushi, you really need to go back and check it out.)

A native of Pennsylvania, Jamie came to UNC-Chapel Hill in 1993 after being valedictorian at Pottstown High School there. She emerged four years later with a degree from Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications and soon found herself working in the marketing department of The Winston-Salem Journal.

She didn’t stay long: she was recruited to come to The Herald as an education reporter, and before long made the switch to “the desk,” working in the position that at the time was called “Lifestyles Editor.”

She spends most of her time putting together pages.

“But I’ve also been happy to return to writing feature stories this year,” she says. “I enjoy layout, but writing is my first love because I get the opportunity to meet so many new and interesting people and then share their stories with our readers.”

Jamie says she loves the “small town” atmosphere, as well as the “regulars” with whom she interacts.

“And I truly love the people whom I work with,” she says. “Our newsroom is full of men and women who can have fun, yet be amazingly professional at the same time.”

She’s a Tar Heel fan, of course, but also considers herself a hockey “convert” and follows the progress of the Carolina Hurricanes, catching games in person when she and Jerry can.

That’s not as often as it used to be, even though daughter Cera, 4, and Anthony, almost 2, are probably used to mom and dad watching the Canes on television.

But unless she’s busy working on a special section or pages for an early section of the newspaper, you won’t catch Jamie sitting still for long.

And this weekend, unless you’re at the Walk for PKD, you probably won’t catch her at all.

Happy birthday, Jamie!


Our People: R. V. Hight

August 27, 2007

R. V. Hight

R. V. Hight | Special Projects Editor

If bobblehead dolls were made of key Herald employees, it’s R. V. Hight’s likeness that would become a collector’s edition.

R. V., 52, is sort of like our unofficial mascot – to many people in Lee County he’s the face of The Sanford Herald. He represents the newspaper so well in so many ways, both as a newspaperman and as a community servant, and he even does our school-group tours.

But he’s also like a secret weapon. He’s the kind of employee who can be called into duty in almost any role, with little or no notice, and save the day – like a relief pitcher or pinch-hitter coming in to get the final outs or drive in the winning runs in an important baseball game.

It’s appropriate to use sports analogies in discussing R. V. because he came to The Herald in May of 1979 as sports editor. At the time, he was sports information director at what was then Campbell College. That followed a stint at The Aiken (S. C.) Standard, where he worked following his graduation from his beloved UNC-Chapel Hill. At UNC, R. V. was deeply entrenched in sports as well, and even had several members of the school’s basketball team (including Mitch Kupchak, now an executive with the Los Angeles Lakers) attend his wedding to the former Bernice “Bunnie” Apple.

R. V. moved onto what we call the “news side” after the retirement of then-Editor Bill Hodges, and has for most of the last decade worked as special projects editor. In that role, he does many things, chief among them coordinating all of our special sections, including our “Lee County Living” and “Chatham Living” magazines and our annual industrial edition.

R. V.’s knowledge of Lee County people and places is most valuable to us, as is his constant admonition to young reporters (and editors) about our emphasis on local news.

He got that from Herald founder W. E. Horner Sr., who once attended homecoming at R. V.’s home church.

 “The next day,” R. V. recalls, “he asked me to write down the name of every person I could remember who had attended. He even had me call my mother to get more names from her. I thought, ‘There were hundreds of people there.’

“We ran all of those names in The Herald…and I heard from numerous people saying how they had read the article and all the names. That was one of my greatest lessons in journalism – that people want to see local names in their local newspaper.” 

R. V. (the initials stand for “Roy Van”) stays in close contact with the UNC sports programs – his office walls are adorned with schedule posters – and still serves as statistician for the university’s sports information office at home football games. In the community, he’s an active member of the Lee County Kiwanis Club (and former Kiwanian of the Year) and will serve as Division 10 Lieutenant Governor for 2007-08. He’s also a member of the Central Carolina Community College Board of Trustees and the board of the Coalition For Families. 

He and Bunnie – who recently retired from Lee County Schools – have two children: son Chris (who lives with his wife Jenni in Morrisville) and daughter Holly, a UNC graduate and aspiring actress who lives in Sanford.

We’re proud to have R. V. as a part of our staff, and as a part of our community. And you can rest assured that like many rare bobbleheads, we won’t be putting Roy on eBay anytime soon. He’s here to stay.