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Under the Dome

Roy Parker: King of Under the Dome, RIP

I admired Roy Parker Jr. so much I almost moved to Fayetteville," writes veteran Democratic consultant Gary Pearce in his blog Talking About Politics.

"Roy, who died this week, was one of North Carolina’s great reporters and editors. He was founding editor of the Fayetteville Times. Back in the 1960s, he was a political reporter at The News & Observer – and a classic newsroom character.

Terse and sardonic, Roy would stalk in late in the day and go into a manic two-fingered typing trance, turning out page after page of copy. He had more sources and more scoops than any reporter in Raleigh.

In those days, Under the Dome ran on page one every day. It was a place for rumors, trial balloons and gossip that would never get in the paper today. Legend had it that Roy made up some of the items but, to give them credibility, would walk over to Capitol Square, mutter to himself: “I heard such-and-such today,” then go to the newsroom and write, “It was heard on Capitol Square today that ….”

One governor’s press secretary told of a particularly effective technique Roy used. He would stalk into a state official’s office, sit down across the desk and … say absolutely nothing. He would sit silently and stare at his poor prey. The silence was unnerving. Soon his victim would start talking, anything to ease the tension. Before long Roy would have a Dome item, some inside poop or a front-page exclusive.

Roy left the N&O to work in Skipper Bowles’ campaign for Governor in 1972. After Skipper lost, Roy went to Fayetteville to start the Times, and he offered me a job. I said no because I didn’t want to move to Fayetteville. But I thought so much of Roy I thought about it hard.


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