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Opinion From a dream to reality - 30 years later

click here for full sizeAs a staff member at the Macon County News, delivering the paper is the reward for working hard in the office to put together the newspaper. So on Thursdays, the staff are able to get out of the office into the daylight, move around a little and meet people outside the four walls in which we work so hard.

People line up on delivery day just to be one of the first to get this week’s paper. At the grocery stores, readers often grab papers before they are even cut from the bundle or taken out of the truck. Many take more than one for their mothers, their neighbors, their businesses or just so a husband and wife can each have one of their own to read. It is gratifying to know that our product is appreciated and sought after on a weekly basis. We also get to hear firsthand what folks really think about our publication.

“We just love this little rag,” someone said, offering a backhanded compliment to say the least. Others are not so subtle, “This is the best newspaper,” they say. For all your compliments and comments, thank you.

This June marks 30 years that The Macon County News has been a fixture in this area. Betsey and Gary Gooder had an idea for a free distribution newspaper and the rest, as they say, is history. It has undergone many changes through the years but the concept is still the same. In the very first issue, organizations were invited to “call, send, or bring in information about their activities, programs and projects.” Business pages were open to “personnel changes and appointments, growth and expansions of local retailers, realtors and brokers, service people and industries.”

From an eight-page black and white flyer that was that first issue on June 9, 1983, to its current phase in which twothirds of the newspaper is in full color, Macon County News continues to inform its readers of the happenings in Western North Carolina. In 1983, 5,000 copies were distributed in Franklin and Highlands. In 2012, 13,000 papers are distributed in a coverage area that also includes Dillsboro, Sylva, Webster, Cullowhee, Scaly Mountain, Dillard and Clayton, Ga.

As the brand new paper’s only writer in 1983, Mr. Gooder wrote the articles that appeared in that first paper. In his first editorial, he explained the concept of doing what you’re meant to do and following your dreams. He said, with him, “newspapering rose to the surface,” above anything else he had ever tried. He also expressed his desire for the newspaper “to place strong emphasis on church, family and school life in Macon County because we feel that this is where the strength of the future lies.”

He concluded with these words:

“We look forward to serving the people of Macon County, for it is the people that make this area a great place to live, work and play.”

And today, we couldn’t agree more.


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