John Boyle, the popular veteran reporter and “Answer Man” columnist for the Asheville Citizen Times, announced Tuesday that he is leaving the newspaper to join Asheville Watchdog’s nonprofit local news team.
Boyle, a 27-year veteran of covering local news in Asheville and surrounding communities, will bring his deep knowledge of local issues and trademark wit to Watchdog readers several times a week. His first column for Asheville Watchdog will appear next week and will be emailed to readers who sign up for The Watchdog’s free news alerts.
Boyle announced his departure to colleagues at the Gannett-owned Citizen Times, where he had worked since 1995. He becomes the only full-time paid reporter at Asheville Watchdog, a not-for-profit news team created in 2020 by volunteer retired journalists and news media executives.
“I’m really excited to work with the fantastic staff Asheville Watchdog has assembled,” Boyle said. “I’ve been deeply impressed with the quality of work by The Watchdog since its inception more than two years ago. In short, it’s journalism that makes a real difference, and I think the community appreciates that. I know I do.”
“Working for Asheville Watchdog represents a fresh start with a relatively new organization, that as a nonprofit, takes a different approach to the business side of journalism,” Boyle continued. “It’s an approach I find refreshing — and full of potential to bring readers the absolute best journalism possible.”
Bob Gremillion, publisher and co-founder of Asheville Watchdog, noted that Boyle’s move to the online news site means his future reporting and columns will be available to all readers without charge. At the Gannett newspaper, only paying subscribers were allowed to read his work.
“John’s unique take on the local scene blends deep local knowledge with a healthy sense of humor,” Gremillion said. “Thanks to the generosity and support of Watchdog donors, we’re able to unleash him and provide all his stories and columns to our readers for free.”
Asheville Watchdog is a community-supported, nonpartisan, online local news report that focuses on in-depth and investigative reporting in Asheville and surrounding communities. Its stories are published on the web at www.avlwatchdog.org and offered without charge, as a public service, to publishing partners including Blue Ridge Public Radio, Mountain Xpress, Smoky Mountain News, and others.
The Watchdog reporting staff includes several Pulitzer Prize winners. Watchdog stories have won top national and state awards this year for investigative, enterprise, and accountability journalism.
Boyle is the recipient of multiple North Carolina Press Association awards, including the 2016 O. Henry Award for Outstanding Writing.
“Boyle is not only a top-notch reporter, but a master wordsmith, regaling readers for decades with beautiful tributes to those we’ve lost like ACT op-ed columnist Bill McGoun to Asheville legends including Karen Cragnolin and Jean Webb, as well as his antics like jumping into freezing cold water in winter for charity and his travels across the country with his saint-like wife, Grace,” the Citizen Times wrote in announcing his move to Asheville Watchdog.
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Boyle earned a degree in English from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He taught high school English and journalism and worked as a freelance writer and pizza delivery specialist in the Richmond area before landing a job as a reporter at the Petersburg Progress-Index, where he worked from 1992-1995.
Boyle joined the Asheville Citizen Times in 1995 as a Hendersonville bureau reporter, then came into the main office as a features writer in 1997. He started writing the Answer Man column in 2001.
Boyle lives in Fletcher with his wife of 28 years, Grace, and their two sons.
Asheville Watchdog is a community-supported, 501c3 nonprofit news corporation registered in North Carolina.