Skip to main content

Mark Ethridge, 2019 May 13

Identifier: OH-ET0612

Scope and Contents

Mark Ethridge, a journalist, novelist, and media entrepreneur, discusses his career, with special attention to his years as a reporter and editor at the Charlotte Observer newspaper, during the 1970s and 1980s. He begins by discussing his first years as a journalist, as a stringer at Princeton University and in the Boston office of the Associated Press. Most of the interview consists of his detailed recollections of his years as a reporter and editor at the Charlotte Observer, during the 1970s and 1980s. During those years, Mr. Ethridge worked on several prominent reporting projects, including stories about the "Charlotte Three" case, the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 212 in Charlotte on September 11, 1974; a re-opening of an unsolved murder case in Fairfax, SC concerning Wallace Youmans; the impact on North Carolina of growing awareness of the hazards of tobacco use ("Our Tobacco Dilemma"); the prevalence of "Brown Lung" disease among textile workers ("Brown Lung: A Case of Deadly Neglect"); and the 1980s PTL Club scandal, involving televangelist Jim Bakker. (The Brown Lung and PTL Club stories resulted in Pulitzer prizes for the Observer staff, in 1980 and 1988.) Mr. Ethridge recalls the 1970s and 1980s as a time of high influence and prosperity for newspapers such as the Observer, which had very large staffs, circulations, and revenues and profits. Other people discussed in the interview include, Kay Ethridge, James ("Jim") Batten, Michael ("Mike") Schwartz, John York, Richard A. ("Rich") Oppel, Rolfe Neill, George Shinn, Ray Shaw, and Tom Cotter.


  • Creation: 2019 May 13

Biographical Note

Mark Foster Ethridge III was a 69-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place in his home in Charlotte, North Carolina. He was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1949. He graduated from Princeton University in 1971 and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University between 1985 and 1986. Mr. Ethridge was employed as a reporter, desk editor, and managing editor of The Charlotte Observer; as a publisher for The Business Journal of Charlotte; as president of the Cotter Group; as the president and owner of Carolina Parenting Inc.; and as a novelist. Mr. Ethridge’s publications include two novels, Grievances published in 2006 and Fallout published in 2012. At the time of the interview he was working on a third novel titled Blood Relative and he was also the chair of the board of directors for WFAE radio.


151 Minutes

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the Oral Histories, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

About this Site

Finding aids are guides to archival collections, including manuscripts, university records, and oral history collections. These guides help you find physical collections which can be viewed in the Dalton Reading Room on the 10th floor of Atkins Library. A small number of finding aids link to digital content online. Please contact us to learn more or to schedule an appointment:

Special Collections and University Archives
J. Murrey Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
(704) 687-1170
Schedule an Appointment