Post Editor Elizabeth Cook will retire at end of 2018

Published 12:11 am Sunday, November 11, 2018

By Mark Wineka

SALISBURY — Elizabeth Cook, editor of the Salisbury Post for 25 years, has announced her retirement at the end of this year. 

Cook, 62, said she wants to spend more time with family. 

“I am grateful for my long career at the Post,” she said. “It’s time to do something else.”

Only the late Spencer Murphy served as editor of the Salisbury Post for a longer time than Cook. He was editor for 28 years, from 1936 to 1964.

The Post has had just seven editors through its 113-year history, and Cook has been the only woman in that job.

“Elizabeth Cook has been a fantastic editor for the Salisbury Post,” Post Publisher Greg Anderson said. “Elizabeth’s talent, wisdom, experience and professionalism will be deeply missed, almost as much as we will miss working alongside her.

“I hope Elizabeth will continue to contribute to the newspaper in retirement.”

Anderson said the Post will conduct a search for a new editor inside and outside the organization. He described Cook as “one of the best.”

“Just think how many lives she has touched in Rowan County,” Anderson said.

Cook informed work colleagues about her decision Friday. And in a separate note to them, she said, “It’s been a good ride, but I’m ready to step aside and let someone else hold the reins.”

She said she will be staying in Salisbury and hopes to contribute stories now and then.

“It will be a loss for the rest of us, who have trusted in her instincts, judgment and curiosity,” said Deirdre Parker Smith of the Post staff. “I certainly hope she will want to keep writing for the paper, because she’s also a good writer and a great reporter.

“I know I will miss her, and I’m glad she’s my boss.”

A native of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Cook graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and moved to Salisbury as a newlywed in the summer of 1977.

After a brief stint at the Daily Independent in Kannapolis, she joined the Post in May 1978 as a reporter assigned to cover southern Rowan County and agriculture. She later reported on the Salisbury City Council and politics.

Through the years, she has been lifestyles editor, associate editor, managing editor and, since 1993, editor. She succeeded Steve Bouser.

Cook served as president of the North Carolina Press Association in 1999-2000 and has won numerous writing awards from the organization.

She has been a constant community voice and an anchor for virtually everyone in the Post newsroom, including Smith.

“I’ve been at the Salisbury Post for 34 years, and Elizabeth Cook has always been here,” Smith said. “She was my boss in the lifestyle department, cranking out stories every day to fill those pages and changing with the times, with fewer bridal parties and more issue-oriented stories. 

“She put so much into her job. She knows so many people and learned so many things, as you do at a newspaper, that she’s part of the foundation of the Salisbury Post.”

Smith said Cook trusts people to know their jobs and to do them well.

“She places a lot of confidence in you and your abilities and is willing to delegate to get the job done.”

Smith added that retirement will be wonderful for Cook.

“She works incredibly long hours,” Smith said. “She’s at the office sometimes seven days a week.”

Cook and her husband, Ed, have three grown daughters and a young grandson.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.