Serving the heart of Burke County (including Lake James, Glen Alpine, Morganton, Drexel, Valdese, Rutherford College and more), The Paper will be your must-read local source for balanced, down-the-middle, community-focused and compelling local news.
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, ThePaper.media, in February 2023.
The Paper is a blend of a registered LLC with non-profit 501(c)3 fiscal sponsors. The Paper will be owned by the community through tiered memberships. Technically, The Paper's ownership will be a blend of a registered LLC with non-profit 501(c)3 fiscal sponsors. It will operate transparently and will be led by an expert local Board of Directors ensuring adherence to our vision, governance, financial accountability and openness. A robust Community Editorial Committee will accurately represent the demographics of the area, which will continuously feed input to the Board and The Paper’s management.
We’re not fooling around. The Paper’s editorial team of experienced reporters will be 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.
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.
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?
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.
See a list of locations where you can find your copy.
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.
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.
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