North Carolina editor who made controversial gun information request resigns

Robert Horne, the Cherokee Scout editor who made a request for gun-permit information that was later withdrawn, has resigned.

Robert Horne

Robert Horne

He tells Romenesko readers that he wasn’t pressured by his publisher to quit, but stepped down “so the Cherokee Scout can move forward.” (Publisher David Brown did not want him to leave the paper.)

Horne, 43, says he’s received threats since requesting the names of Cherokee County residents “who have applied for and/or have received a concealed carry permits.”

The request was rescinded after locals protested on Facebook and made threats to newspaper staffers. (Some of the tamer posts: “Anyone wanna go hunting” ….”Go get em people!!!!, Somebody needs to shut his Paper Down!!!”)

Horne, who received a “hate call” while I was talking to him Tuesday afternoon, says that “I have reported the threats against me and my home to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department and they’ve responded to them professionally.”

The editor and his wife — she’s an eight-grade teacher — plan to move out of North Carolina in May, when the school year ends.

“I hope to find a job in the profession,” says Horne. “I still love newspapers.”

Here is the story that’s running in tomorrow’s Cherokee Scout:

Editor resigns

Robert Horne has resigned, effective immediately, as editor of the Cherokee Scout and Andrews Journal.

During his seven-plus years as editor, Horne led the Scout and Journal news staffs to more than 50 awards in annual contests sponsored by the N.C. Press Association and Community Newspapers Inc., including first place in General Excellence, Best of CNI and the President’s Award, along with honors for his editorial and column writing. Horne is leaving the local newspapers to pursue other opportunities as well as relocate closer to family.

“We wish Robert well in all his future endeavors,” said David Brown, publisher of the Scout and Journal. “He’s a good man who has done a lot of positive things for the area that should be remembered.”

In 2012, Horne headed up editorial coverage for the newspapers’ Celebrate Cherokee County program, which profiled every community large and small while also donating more than $12,500 in advertising and $2,500 in cash to local charitable and non-profit organizations.

“I have enjoyed my time working at the Cherokee Scout and Andrews Journal,” Horne said. “I have learned a lot from David and the staff here. I will take what I have learned here and use it in my future endeavors. I wish the Scout and Journal all the best moving forward.”

Horne, a veteran of the U.S. Marines who has been with the newspapers since 2005, will remain on staff in a production role until his departure Friday, May 24.

* The most incredible newspaper apology ever (jimromenesko.com)
* Guns and public records: The Cherokee Scout saga (cjr.org)

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