“I had no inkling that there was any problem,” Sorg said. “I felt like I was doing the right thing: trying to give the readers thoughtful analysis and hard news and observation.”
Sorg said the weekly publication serving the Triangle area won awards and that readership was surpassing more than a million views under her leadership.
Jock Lauterer, a senior lecturer in UNC’s School of Media and Journalism who teaches a class on community journalism, said the field is undergoing a difficult transition because of the popularity of digital media but the overarching unwillingness to pay for it.
“People go into these journalistic professions because they care about making a difference,” Lauterer said.
Prior to her dismissal, Sorg expressed an interest in stepping back from editing and writing more as a staff writer after another Indy Week reporter was dismissed, though she said this was unlikely to have resulted in her dismissal.
Sorg’s ousting was met with an outpouring of sympathy on Twitter, where readers questioned the unexpected change in leadership and sought answers.
Indy Week hired Jeff Billman to fill Sorg’s post, and he said the way he rose to editor was unexpected.
“Obviously some people were taken aback by my rise,” he said. “But the overall public response was fairly positive.”
While Billman said he was excited for the opportunity to implement some changes at Indy Week, Sorg expressed concern about her future.
She said her husband had been diagnosed with stage-four prostate cancer.
“I needed to let people know, so I could work again,” Sorg said.
She has since found another job at a local blog called Bull City Rising, a publication she once considered her biggest competition.
Sorg said she and Kevin Davis, Bull City Rising’s editor, met Saturday to talk about collaboration and decided to join forces.
Davis said that he has always admired Sorg’s work.
“I really look forward to the great Durham stories she will be able to bring to my readers,” he said. “There are few people with the experience and knowledge Lisa brings about her community, and I’m thrilled to have an outlet for her writing and perspectives.”
Sorg published her first piece for Bull City Rising on Wednesday.
“I could be naive, but I think that these kind of ventures start with a dream and ambition, and that’s what we both have.”