Community Owned. Local News. Burke County, NC.

Welcome to The Paper!

We are delighted to introduce The Paper, a full-fledged community newspaper that is dedicated to only local news. Published on Saturdays, The Paper is owned locally, managed locally, written locally, and wholly dedicated to Burke County’s people, places, schools, businesses, sports, activities, entertainment, governments, and celebrations. READ MORE  
Frequently asked questions

Who does The Paper serve?

Serving the heart of Burke County (including Lake James, Glen Alpine, Morganton, Drexel, Valdese, Rutherford College and more), The Paper is your must-read local source for balanced, down-the-middle, community-focused and compelling local news.

What is The Paper?

Morganton Media Group, LLC (MMG, dba The Paper) was founded in August 2022 to meet the escalating demand in greater Burke County for a reliable local source of community news. We will be accountable, readable and relevant. The Paper will fill the void created by the steady decline in local coverage and commitment from the 100-year-old daily newspaper, currently owned by Lee Enterprises, headquartered in Iowa. To fill this news desert, The Paper will launch as a weekly, broadsheet newspaper and an online version,, in February 2023.

Who owns The Paper?

The Paper is a blend of a registered LLC with non-profit 501(c)3 fiscal sponsors. The Paper is supported by the community through memberships and philanthropic support. The Paper's ownership is be a blend of a registered LLC with non-profit 501(c)3 fiscal sponsors. It operates transparently and will be led by an expert local Board of Directors ensuring adherence to our vision, governance, financial accountability and openness.

Who leads The Paper's newsroom?

We’re not fooling around. The Paper’s editorial team of experienced reporters is led by Bill Poteat. Bill is a former editor & political reporter of The News Herald, a teacher at East Burke High School and Draughn High School and a former columnist and reporter for the Gastonia Gazette. He’s earned multiple North Carolina Press Association First Place Awards for editorials, business writing, and serious, critical and humorous columns.

Can I advertise in The Paper?

Absolutely! Part of the role a newspaper plays in any community is to help businesses grow and thrive. And we need your support to make this work. Leading the Advertising and Business Development arm of The Paper is Janina Linens, former advertising / marketing director for The News Herald. Under her leadership, The News Herald received several First Place NCPA awards for advertising effectiveness and special sections.

What will The Paper cover?

Local news. Only local news. Comprehensively. No local story too small or too big. Sports. Business and Economy. Activities and Events. Education and students. Features. Profiles. The sane and sensible and the unusal and zany. Meaningful editorials and opinions. Letters to the editor. If it's celebrating, we’re covering it. If it's accomplished, we’re reporting it. The Paper covers us, and only us. You want national or global news go somewhere else. Get the idea?

What's the deal with community ownership?

It means that the community will own The Paper through memberships, much like the Green Bay Packers are owned by its community.

It means that you get to vote on some big things. You don’t get to decide who the reporters are. You don’t get to decide on specific stories. But you will have a say on major, broad issues and you get to feel a sense of literal ownership over The Paper.

Where can I buy The Paper

See a list of locations where you can find your copy.

Aren't newspapers an endangered species? What makes The Paper different?

It’s no secret the newspaper industry has struggled as unprecedented consolidation has placed the fate of local journalism in many communities into the hands of a few national companies (like Lee, Gannett, Paxton). Greed, layoffs, pay cuts and consolidation have gutted local coverage.

And don't think you can find your news on "the Internet." Without local journalists, there is little substantive coverage of events, activities, and issues of everyday interest and importance in small communities.

But community newspapers, especially those still in the hands of local owners, have bucked these trends. Consequently, the value of the estimated 5,000 community newspapers continues to grow as they serve over 150 million readers who are informed, educated, and entertained by a community newspaper every week, according to the National Newspaper Association Foundation.

The Paper will fill the news void in Burke County created by the decline of the local daily. We’re not reinventing the wheel or trying to put EV cars on highways. We’re just going back to the basics and giving Burke County’s residents what they have been asking for —- thorough, unabashed, unwavering and dedicated local news.


How can I learn more about The Paper?

The Paper is privileged to partner with select retailers who will sell it. There’s home delivery (limited at first). We will be online. Or, come by our newsroom and ask for a copy.

Speaking of newsrooms, The Paper has opened its doors in the heart of downtown Morganton, 110 S Sterlng St. You are invited to stop by anytime with story ideas, questions, meet a reporter, enjoy a cup of coffee or whatever. And a human will answer the phone when you call during business hours – an actual human being – in our office. No call center, no transfers to someplace you never heard of speaking to somebody you never met who has not a clue about Burke County. Just us, your fellow community members.

We look forward to our conversation.


Meet our team

Meet our experienced team at The Paper

The Paper published its first edition on Feb. 4, 2023. Shown above is the current staff, from left: Marty Queen, Sandra Wilkerson Queen, Allen VanNoppen, Pam Walker, Lisa Price, Paul Schenkel, Saydie Bean, Bill Poteat, Lilly Brown, Angela Copeland, Janina Linens, Josh McKinney, and Devan Berry.
With the goal of providing Burke County with comprehensive, fresh, thorough, and responsible local news, The Paper has staffed its reporting and advertising teams with a fantastic blend of …

After too long an absence, it feels mighty good to be home

BILL POTEAT: The last column I wrote for a strictly Burke County audience was published on the morning of Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 9, 1999. The piece was a loving tribute to my mother, Beatrice Poteat, and to my then mother-in-law, Patty Tarler. …

Happy to be back in the game

PAUL SCHENKEL: When after nearly 12 years I said goodbye to Burke County’s sports community in December 2021, it was among the hardest things I had ever done. And it didn’t take all of 2022 before I missed it. Talking sports with all of you, attending games, writing, pursuing one of my lifelong dreams.
Pam Walker is the Central Burke reporter at The Paper, covering Drexel, Valdese, and Glen Alpine.

Professional journey leads home to The Paper

PAM WALKER: My arrival in Burke County was many years ago although it seems like yesterday (corny but true). My then 2-year-old now has a 2-year-old of her own and in a blink I qualify for senior discounts at restaurants. It was the early ’90s when we uprooted our family of five and left Henderson County ...

Morganton memory: A lesson learned long ago

MARTY QUEEN: I’m a McDowell County boy, born in Marion and raised in Nebo.I spent 30 years working at the newspaper in my hometown, so covering Burke County constitutes wading into uncharted waters for me. …

After decades away it's never too late to return home

ANGELA KUPER COPELAND: Back in the land of lighting bugs, magnolia trees, and sweet tea. After living out of the Carolinas for more than 30 years, I have finally made my way back home. Like many people in the world, the COVID pandemic pushed me to reflect on what is important. …

Keeping it local, and simple

During my junior year in college, around 1977, I needed a second part-time job to pay for a  Honda CB 550 four-cylinder to careen and carouse across the country and back with a bunch of school buddies during spring break …