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I was born a writer and always knew I’d someday make a living writing things. My little-girl dreams were of being a published book writer or maybe a penner of poetry. I thought I could even write—and maybe even sing and perform—some songs.
My draw to journalism is rooted to small-town Bardstown, Ky., where, in my school days, I somehow grew a strange fascination with my hometown reporters. It started simple enough.
Our town was so small and our schools so little, it was easy to spot a local reporter when they showed up to take photos at a school event. I loved the thought of what they were doing and began to consider it as a possibility for myself.
By middle school, I was just nerdy and enthusiastic enough to give up my entire summer and a good part of an entire school year to a history and writing program.
In that first one, I spent the summer touring historic Kentucky sites—and even took my first trip to North Carolina’s famed Biltmore Estate.
Our group—a mismatched team of sixth- through eighth-graders, used that experience to write, produce, set design and act and sing in what we hoped was a historically accurate play about Kentucky.
But it was the next two summers that drew my heart to journalism. The local newspaper editor had teamed up with teachers to do more summer writing programs. By the time I finished eighth grade, I had interviewed, researched and written two stories—one of which was published in a special section in my hometown paper, the other in a self-printed and bound book.
Years later, after pursuing a degree at college, I returned home to that same newsroom. First I was a page designer, then a reporter and photographer, before eventually becoming its news editor.
It was in the The Kentucky Standard newsroom where I had the honor and privilege of being part of its centennial celebration—100 years of hometown journalism history.
It was an exciting time. Working with a local historian, we collected images of our community throughout its history. The newspaper’s design manager created a beautiful hardcopy book, which we sold for the occasion.
I never imagined when I left home with that feather in my cap I’d have another opportunity to be part of a storied journalism history. On Thursday, our publication date, the Beacon will be celebrating its 50th year as Brunswick County’s leading news source. We’re hosting an open house from 4-6 p.m. We hope you’ll stop by our office at 208 Smith Ave. in Shallotte to celebrate with us.
During the event, we’ll be taking a look back at our history, including honoring those before us, like founder Robert Stanley and longtime owners Edward and Carolyn Sweatt. We’ll be reminiscing with former employees and current staff, but most importantly, it will give us a chance to spend more time with you, our devoted readers.
We would love for you to join us. Stop by and take a walk through the building and then join us for refreshments (who doesn’t like cake?). You’ll also get a chance to hear some music from local bluegrass musicians and have a chance to talk to those of us who have dedicated ourselves to producing high-quality, fair and accurate news about the people and issues that are important and interesting right here in Brunswick County.
Fifty years. We’re delighted to have been part of this community’s history for that long and look forward to a prosperous future serving you right here at home.