Paul R. Jervay, Jr.
To Paul R. Jervay, Jr., a newspaper is a vital community resource, not simply a product.
As a third-generation journalist and the second-generation publisher of The Carolinian, an African-American newspaper in Raleigh, Jervay is committed to giving the community a voice, while also delivering information.
“Our paper gives people a chance to write stories that are important to them, with the potential for those stories running in the newspaper,” he said.
A native of Atlanta, Jervay grew up in Raleigh, where he graduated from J.W. Ligon High School. He then attended North Carolina Central University, earning a bachelor’s degree with honors in accounting in 1971. While at NCCU, he spent two years as sports editor of the campus newspaper, preparation for eventually assuming leadership of the family business.
The Carolinian was established in 1939 by Jervay’s late father, Paul R. Jervay, Sr. The elder Jervay served as publisher until 1993 and was the son of Robert S. Jervay, who founded The Cape Fear Journal (now The Wilmington Journal) in 1927. Jervay Jr. took over the reins of the paper in 1997, succeeding his sister, Prentice Jervay, who served as publisher for four years.
Jervay remembers his father as an innovative businessman who constantly sought to understand and embrace new technologies, a business strategy Jervay continued by introducing computer-based design and other advances to speed production.
From his mother, the late Brenda Yancy Jervay, he learned the value of hard work, constantly pursuing excellence, and believing in yourself.
“My mother was a very strong-willed individual who had a way of running her household that made you work and live to a standard,” he recalls. “There was a period of time, when I was six or seven, when she would tell me daily ‘you can do anything you set your mind to.’ She had that mindset and I heard it every day for over a year.”
Under Jervay’s guidance, The Carolinian continued to emphasize service to the community, engaging readers in celebration of good news and using aggressive investigative reporting as a catalyst for civic activism when needed.
“Having a good investigative reporter on staff is really a luxury for a community newspaper,” Jervay said. “But it gives us the opportunity to deal more effectively with issues and to help make the community better. We’re not just here to sell a paper, but to serve the community.”
“With our paper, we have always been ‘community first’,” Jervay said. “We may have stories about the state or nation or world, but we begin with the community. For us, that means the black community is our starting point.”
In 2016 Jervay transitioned leadership of The Carolinian to a third generation, assuming the post of National Advertising Manager as his daughter, Adria Jervay, became publisher.
Author: Cassandra Talabi