Spring fever brings ideas to The Mountaineer

By Jonathan Key | May 28, 2012

It’s springtime in the mountains and with that comes the itching we all get to freshen things up. Spring brings with it the newness of another beautiful season in the mountains, and for many, changes to their gardens, farms, and flower beds or sprucing up around the house are in order.

Just like the rest of you, The Mountaineer is excited and itching for some changes. We are making plans to enhance our service to the communities we cover, and to make a few minor adjustments to the way we look.

Most of you are familiar with our newspaper, but in the spirit of spring and change, I’d take you on a little history tour, and let you know some things we have planned for the next few months.

We began publishing on Jan. 16, 1884 as The Waynesville News. W.S Hemby was the editor and proprietor. Stories from that issue include one that claims that there were dishonest pension claim agents in Washington and a story out of Illinois that talks about raising the saloon fees from $500 per year to $1,500, “since the business is amazingly profitable in many ways.”

The Mountaineer has records tracing its roots back to 1884 with the publication of the Waynesville News, the county's first newspaper. At the newspaper helm during the early years was a person well known to many in Haywood County, J. T. Bridges. He not only saw the paper through many editorial changes, but several name changes as well. In all, the paper changed names 11 times, but its mission never changed — to tell county residents what was happening in their midst. We have remained steadfast in that commitment to this day.

Last year, we changed the name of the paper to Mountaineer, dropping the word “The” from its title. But, the itch that many of you feel in the spring has also hit us here along with the prodding of many loyal readers, and with today’s issue, you will notice we have put “The” back in the official name of the paper.

In addition to that minor change, we are getting ready to make some changes to our website. It will soon feature a daily fee, instead of a per article fee, and you will see more changes as we can make them.

We are also trying, and I emphasize the word trying, to bring back home delivery of The Mountaineer, a service we suspended last summer due to sprawling routes and climbing gas prices that made delivery unprofitable for carriers. We are going to start delivering in a few areas that we know we can manage, work out the kinks in the new system, and hopefully keep expanding. Now, not all of you will be getting your paper by carrier. Some may still get it through the mail, and economics from our carriers will dictate whether or not we can expand to an area where you live. But, if they are willing, we will give it a try.

Finally, we will be organizing a community advisory committee to help guide us in our decisions here. We will be seeking community members to sit on the committee, and hope to get a better feeling of what the community wants from their local newspaper.

We have a fair number of things to accomplish. We hope our spring cleaning meets with your approval and that you find the changes are improvements to your hometown newspaper.




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