Journalist Edward Martin, 80, dies after distinguished career


Journalist Edward Martin died May 29 after more than six decades of writing award-winning stories that explored the work and lives of North Carolinians in vivid detail. He was 80.

Martin grew up on a tobacco farm near Bedford, Virginia, a town of 3,200 famous for losing 19 soldiers in the Normandy landing in 1944 during World War II. He served in the U.S. Army for three years, receiving military-sponsored journalism training at Columbia University in New York.

While Martin was serving at Fort Liberty near Fayetteville, Durham Herald reporter Chuck Barber met him while working on a story on military wives. That connection led to a job at the Durham newspaper, where Martin became city editor. He joined the Charlotte News in 1977, later moving to the Charlotte Observer.

After a stint as a freelance writer for national healthcare publications, he joined Business North Carolina magazine in 2001. He was the monthly publication’s most prolific writer, including a story that will be published in a future edition.

Martin’s stories won more than 30 prizes from the Alliance of Area Business Publications, earning him recognition as one of the best journalists of his generation. He received top honors in the group’s annual “Best Body of Work” category more than a dozen times, a record that contest judges from the University of Missouri School of Journalism said would likely never be surpassed.

In a 2014 column, former Business North Carolina Editor and Publisher David Kinney noted the Missouri judges’ comment on Martin’s gift “for infusing flesh, blood and emotions into work that, in the hands of one less talented, would be as soulless as ciphers on musty ledger pages. Martin’s stories are fine examples of how to humanize business stories without losing sight of the numbers. The writing has many lively turns of phrase that keep the reader engaged to the very end.”

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