The Daily Tar Heel’s next editor-in-chief will be Anna Pogarcic, the newspaper’s selection committee announced Saturday.
Pogarcic has spent the last two years as editor of the City & State desk, where she directed the paper’s coverage of Orange County and the greater Chapel Hill community.
“I just really wanted to try to give back to the DTH what it gave to me,” Pogarcic said. “It still doesn’t really feel real.”
During the first semester of her first year, Pogarcic joined the paper as a staff writer on what was then the State & National desk.
After two semesters as a reporter, she was hired as an assistant editor for the newly-formed City & State desk — only to get an unexpected call from then-editor-in-chief Rachel Jones that August.
“Rachel called me and basically told me that they needed a new desk editor because they needed to rearrange the staff, and she wanted me to do it,” Pogarcic said. “I guess I applied for a position and then ended up getting promoted at the last second, not really expecting it.”
After being in the role her sophomore year, Pogarcic applied for the position again. She said she hoped to use the opportunity to “go above and beyond.”
During her second year in the position, she worked to improve her existing projects such as “The OC Report”, the DTH’s newsletter for full-time residents of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough. She also launched new ones, such as Tar Heels Vote.
Calvin Deutschbein, a member of the DTH’s EIC selection committee, called Pogarcic a “superstar” candidate. The committee evaluated two great applicants Deutschbein said, including current Copy Chief and Social Media Manager Brandon Standley.
A Chapel Hill resident, Deutschbein, said he’s seen for himself the tangible improvements of city and state news coverage during Pogarcic’s time as editor.
“I think it’s unusual for it to be publicly obvious that one news desk is doing so well and doing such levels of innovation and quality of coverage,” he said.
Her work samples and references from a summer reporting internship at The Charlotte Observer also impressed the committee, Deutschbein said.
Deutschbein said Pogarcic also expressed the belief that the editorial decisions the DTH makes as a paper will critically impact its odds of success, financially and otherwise.
“The fact that that came through in every answer made me believe that Anna was well positioned to be an editor-in-chief, had a strong analysis of the problems facing news as an industry and actually more comprehensive solutions than I’ve seen from a lot of publications.” he said.
Pogarcic’s platform includes a focus on diversity and community engagement, a stronger push toward a digital-first model and an emphasis on building relationships between desks in the newsroom.
DTH General Manager Erica Perel, who was not a member of the committee that selected Pogarcic, said she’s excited to work with her next year.
“It’s really been a pleasure to watch her grow, and to watch her tackle new projects and innovate in really cool ways,” Perel said. “I think Anna really has a very good understanding of some of the challenges that we face at The Daily Tar Heel.”
The DTH employs an editor-in-chief selection process unique from many other student newspapers, Perel said. Pogarcic was selected by a committee that includes a UNC faculty or staff member, a community member, representatives of the DTH staff, students not affiliated with the paper and at least one former EIC.
“They kind of are representative of the stakeholders and constituencies that the editor has to serve,” Perel said.
Pogarcic said she’s looking forward to making lasting changes at the DTH, building on her work for the City & State desk.
“I think we have this inertia, we have this comfort zone that we don’t always feel like we can get out of,” Porgarcic said. “And I think because I have experience doing just that on City & State desk, I thought that I could maybe bring that attitude to the whole paper — and make us more sustainable in the long term.”
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