Longtime journalist Mark Lastinger has been named editor of the Effingham Herald.
Lastinger, 55, comes to the Herald after spending the past 13 months working for the Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette in Bluffton, S.C., and McClatchy Newsdesk East in Charlotte, N.C. He served as a copy editor and page designer for the Packet/Gazette and the Bradenton (Fla.) Herald, Charlotte Observer, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Durham (N.C.) News & Observer, Macon Telegraph, Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Sun, Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer, Rock Hill (S.C.) Herald, Center Daily Times (Pa.) and The State (S.C.).
Lastinger spent the bulk of his career at the Thomasville Times-Enterprise. He was its managing editor from June 2002 until July 2016 when he moved to Rincon to be near his daughter, Meg Conway, and her family. A former Effingham County Schools teacher, she is married to Gulfstream engineer Stephen Conway. They have two daughers, Adi, 2, and Emmy, 6 months.
“Moving to Rincon is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Lastinger said. “Getting the chance to see my granddaughers grow up is wonderful, but this career opportunity in such a desirable place is also a tremendous blessing. I’ve enjoyed living here very much and now I look forward to becoming a bigger part of the community in my new role.”
As its managing editor, Lastinger ensured that he and the Times-Enterprise were engaged with their readers. He organized and presided over nearly two dozen town hall meetings that featured candidates for local, state and federal offices, including the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. He also coordinated citizen forums about fatherhood, charter schools and highway construction. In addition, he persuaded Thomas County Democrat and Republican party officials to share the same stage in an effort to enhance political cooperation.
Under Lastinger’s direction, the Times-Enterprise finished among the top three in the Georgia Press Association’s General Excellence category multiple times, winning top honors in 2004 and placing second in his final year there. He received individual awards for news reporting, business reporting, page design, headline writing, editorial writing and sports writing.
A 1984 Valdosta State College graduate who has spent the bulk of his life in Thomasville, Lastinger also worked at the Albany Herald in its sports department, covering college football, minor league baseball, minor league basketball, auto racing and an assortment of high school events. He earned numerous Georgia Press Association, Associated Press and Georgia Sports Writers Association awards, including seven in 2001. His “Tales from a Minor League Road Trip” was named the 2001 Sweepstakes Award winner, designating it as the Georgia Sports Writers Association’s top story of the year.
“I’m eager to get started writing stories about Effingham County, its happenings and its people,” Lastinger said. “There are plenty of good ones to tell. I've learned in my 30 years in this business that a newspaper should be an accurate reflection of its people and its culture, and my co-workers and I are going to work hard to make sure that happens.”