April Bethea is a multimedia journalist from Charlotte, N.C. She currently works as a news producer and social media manager for The Charlotte Observer, transitioning to the online team in 2013 after eight years as a reporter for the paper’s regional and metro desks.
As a reporter, Bethea covered K-12 and higher education, and spent four years as the Observer’s county government reporter. In the latter role, she used Twitter and a team blog to help expand coverage of count government, which led to a “Best Local Newspaper Reporter” nod from a local alternative weekly. She also offered analysis on count government and other local public affairs issues on occasional television appearances.
In 2011, Bethea moved to the Observer’s breaking news team where she covered public safety, features and other general news. She also continued to cover government on an as-needed basis.
In spring 2013, Bethea moved to the Observer’s online team full-time. As a producer and social media manager, she selects content for display on the home and inside pages on www.charlotteobserver.com and mobile producers. She also is part of a team that manages the newsroom’s social media accounts, and creates plans on how best to promote content on social platforms. In addition, she worked with the paper’s then-digital news editor to develop a set of best practices for news coverage. In 2014, Bethea was one of 29 journalists awarded a week-long fellowship from the Kiplinger Program for Public Affairs Journalism to study a variety of digital journalism topics, including social media, video and ethics in the digital age.
Bethea is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and served as president of its Charlotte chapter when it relaunched in 2005-06. She also is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and currently serves as secretary of its Charlotte chapter. She was selected as a SPJ Diversity Leadership fellow in 2013 and recently received a Terry Harper Memorial Scholarship to attend the annual Excellence in Journalism conference.
Outside of the newsroom, Bethea volunteers with Hands on Charlotte and is leader for a food project at an area school. She also is a graduate of the Leaders Under 40 program sponsored by the Community Building Initiative. She also enjoys checking out local theater productions, movies and poetry slams when she can.