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This November marks the 50th year The Brunswick Beacon has been serving Brunswick County.
To honor this milestone, the Beacon staff is hosting an open house from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at the Beacon office. The Beacon is at 208 Smith Ave. in Shallotte, across the street from the post office.
There will be a brief ceremony starting at 4:15 p.m., but visitors can stop by anytime between 4-6 p.m.
There will be music provided by local bluegrass entertainers, as well as refreshments and cake.
Attendees will have a chance to meet the Beacon staff and former Beacon employees are encouraged to attend.
Take a walk down memory lane with photos and old newspapers and see some of the many awards the Beacon staff has won for its quality community newspaper reporting, design, photography and advertisements during the past 50 years.
“Community newspapers are a vibrant part of a healthy community,” said managing editor Stacey Manning. “Brunswick County is so diverse—with locals who’ve been here for generations, to retirees and newcomers happy to make it their home. We do our best each and every week to write about important issues and also interesting, fun stories about the people who make this such a great place to live and work.”
The quality journalism, advertising and customer service provided at the Beacon are part of the tradition started some 50 years ago when the newspaper was first printed.
The first issue of The Brunswick Beacon, which was then printed as The Shallotte Press, has a publication date of Nov. 1, 1962. Robert Stanley founded the newspaper.
The Beacon was purchased in 1970 by Edward Sweatt, then a partner in Community Newspapers Inc. out of Spartanburg, S.C.
Sweatt and his wife, Carolyn, skillfully guided the Beacon through the area’s population explosion in the late 1980s and early 1990s. By the mid-1990s, real estate and service industry advertising allowed the Beacon to expand from printing 28 to 32 pages to 70-plus pages each week. Today, the Beacon continues to publish newspapers near that page count.
In early 2001, the Beacon moved from its location on Main Street to a new 21,000-square-foot office center and printing plant on Smith Avenue.
The Beacon was purchased in June 2003 by Landmark Community Newspapers Inc. out of Shelbyville, Ky. LCNI is a division of Landmark Communications, a privately held media company in Norfolk, Va., with interests in newspapers and special publications, TV broadcasting, cable programming, outdoor advertising, and education.
In late 2011, the Beacon closed its in-house printing division and began working with LCNI-owned Greensboro News and Record to print the weekly newspaper. The transition encouraged a complete redesign of the newspaper, including an updated look, more color page options and improved content and advertising.
For the past several years, the Beacon has been honored by the North Carolina Press Association as the first-place general excellence award winner in the Beacon’s circulation division.
For three of the past four years, the Beacon has also won the prestigious Henry Lee Weathers Freedom of Information Award for all North Carolina newspapers, regardless of publication frequency, for newspapers with a circulation of 20,000 or less.
The Beacon staff in news, advertising, graphics and classifieds, have also won many local, state, regional and national awards.
“We hope you’ll come and visit with us on Nov. 15,” Manning said. “We’d love to hear what you think about our newspaper and want you to join us in celebrating our future while we honor our past.”