Speaking of Howard Troxler, he and I joined the News & Observer about the same time. He came straight from UNC-Chapel Hill while I had wandered a bit at other newspapers.
We were at lunch one day, and he talked about his hiring interview at the N&O.
“They asked me why my GPA was so low,” he said. “I said, ‘Because I had a full-time job working at the Daily Tar Heel. Do you want someone with a high GPA or do you want someone who’s already been a reporter for a daily newspaper for three years?'”
The N&O made the right choice. Howard eventually became a popular columnist for the St. Petersburg Times in Florida.