columnist, Charlotte (N.C.) Observer
Elder was born in Nashville, Tennessee. He started his career in journalism at age 15, as a reporter and photographer for Stanford University’s student newspaper, The Stanford Daily. He graduated from San Jose State University with a bachelor’s degree, continuing his newspaper career throughout college. He worked as a copy editor for several papers, including The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. In 1995, he became the news editor for The European Stars and Stripes in Germany, helping to lead the paper’s coverage of the Balkan wars. From 1997-1999, he was a desk editor for the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California. He moved to the Charlotte Observer in 2000 as the assistant national editor. His work answering readers’ news questions became a column and then a syndicated hit, running in more than 100 newspapers worldwide. After 600 columns, he became the paper’s on-the-town columnist in 2004. Elder is the recipient of a number of awards, including being a Poynter Institute Fellow in short writing in 2002 which led to his becoming a guest faculty member on the subject in 2003. He was a first place winner for feature writing from the North Carolina Press Association in 2004. And in 2007, he received a Latin American Chamber of Commerce award for supporting diversity.
Information on this page is from the fellowship year.