The Interview: Winston Skinner


From Staff Reports

This month, The Paper publishes its Q&A with Winston Skinner, who has spent almost 40 years as a local reporter and editor.

Briefly describe yourself and what you do/did

I was born in Newnan but grew up in several places in Georgia. From the time I was a fourth grader, I knew I wanted to write for a living, so I went into journalism. Worked as a reporter and editor for almost 40 years. Still doing freelance writing, editing and PR. I also was a country pastor for 24 years and still preach when asked, marry people and conduct funerals.

Best piece of advice you’ve received. 

My Granny Carney had a saying, “Each to his own notion.” It’s become my byword. I don’t have to agree with other people, and they don’t have to agree with me. Life goes on…

If I had it to do over … 

I wouldn’t change much. I love journalism — writing, reporting, interviewing. I even like photography.  My time as a pastor was very rewarding, too. Lynn and I got married halfway through college. We don’t recommend that to folks generally, but it certainly was the right path for us.

You are going on an extended solo trip. What three albums and three books would you take? 

Albums — “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Journey’s Greatest Hits,” Whitney Houston’s double album. 

Books — my Jerusalem Bible, “Gone With the Wind,” something about the U.S. first ladies

Tell us one thing about yourself that few people know. 

My hair grayed early. It runs in my family. When I was a young reporter, people thought I was older than I was. (Being married and a father didn’t hurt.) I was able, I think, to get people to trust me and take me more seriously because I seemed to be five to seven years older than I was.

You are hosting a dinner party for six. What five people, living or dead, would you invite and why?

Eleanor of Aquitaine, Margaret Mitchell, Jacqueline Onassis, Walter Cronkite, Dot Moore. All people I think would be interesting and have unique viewpoints. (The only one I actually know is Dot, and she is the life of every party she attends.) Because I follow and believe in Jesus, I’d invite him, too. He might help me out with some loaves and fish if there’s not enough food.

Name an as yet unfulfilled dream. 

I’ve got some notes for a biography of first lady Letitia Tyler. She is pretty obscure but lived in and through a fascinating time in history. Maybe one day I’ll have time to meander around Virginia to collect the rest of what I need and then write. Also, I’d love to travel to Russia.

If you weren’t doing what you are, you would be … 

Probably bored. I like what I do. I am pretty good at teaching, I think, and come from a family of educators. I’m thankful, however, that I was able to be a journalist.

Your go-to food. 

Too many. Pizza, pomegranates, ice cream, Swiss cheese with crackers.

Favorite movies(s): 

“Gone With the Wind” — I acknowledge its faults, but I saw it as a boy and still am fascinated every time I see it, especially in a theater. Second, “Munster, Go Home.” After a long, tiring day, I can pop it in the VCR and laugh.

Dogs or cats? 

Interesting question. For most of life, cats. We got a Pomeranian, Kookie, a few years ago. He is my executive assistant and rides with me in the car when I am out and about. Also, he and I walk from our house to town and back most days.

Your favorite quote and why. 

Back to Granny’s “Each to his own notion.” It just fits so many situations.

Name something that you are extremely glad you did or accomplished.

The people I got to meet and interview. Erskine Caldwell was interesting, and several in his family became friends. Christian Slater didn’t seem to take himself too seriously. And my first real newspaper interviewee was Norma Gunby, who was a special friend who shared my passion for genealogy.

What advice would you give your younger self just starting out on their own. 

Take your work seriously, but take life more seriously. Be sure to take time for the people who love you — they will be there when other things are no longer part of your life.

1 comment

  1. Kathy Wilson 14 April, 2022 at 11:29 Reply
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    Winston Skinner – one of my favorite Newnan folks! And my mom loved him, too!

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