Ken H. Fortenberry has built a successful career as an award-winning investigative journalist, newspaper publisher and author.
He has worked for some of the largest newspaper companies in the nation (and some of the smallest) as well as private, family-owned companies.
As a journalist he was won more than 100 state, regional and national awards including the National Sigma Delta Chi Bronze Medallion in Public Service and the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award for a series he directed that led to changes in teacher hiring laws in more than 30 states.
He gained national recognition in 1987 when his house was rocked by two explosions because of stories he published in the McCormick (S.C.) Messenger. His coverage of corruption in local law enforcement led to a federal prison term for the sheriff, the bribery conviction of the sheriff’s replacement, the exposure of the chief deputy as an ex-convict, and changes in state law enforcement certification.
He was featured on the CBS News program “60 Minutes, the NBC “Today” show, and his story was reported in dozens of publications including Newsweek and The New York Times. A book he wrote about the experience, KILL THE MESSENGER, was published in 1989 and has been under option for a TV movie.
A former member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Alabama College of Communications, he is a past chairman of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association Editorial Committee and a former member of the Board of Publications at the University of Southern Mississippi. He was the first president and founder of the Denver Area Business Association, was named Denver’s Citizen of the Year in 2003, and was instrumental in starting the community’s first Fourth of July celebration in 2001.
He has served as a leader in a number of community organizations across the South including the Salvation Army, the Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way.
A former adult Sunday school teacher and church school superintendent in the Methodist Church, he attended the University of South Carolina-Spartanburg, the American Press Institute, and is a proud U.S. Army veteran. He is a member of the American Legion.
He and his wife, the former Anna Jonas of Lincolnton, have five grown children and four grandchildren. The Fortenberrys own and operate news@norman, a weekly newspaper serving Denver/Lake Norman in Lincoln County.