RALEIGH — The North State Journal, North Carolina’s only statewide newspaper, is celebrating its first year of bringing the people of the Tarheel state together from Murphy to Manteo.NSJ launched on Feb. 28, 2016, with a mission of delving deep for truth, elevating the conversation and bringing the whole story to the whole state.”There are a lot of places in the world, but there is no better place than North Carolina. The North State Journal is a barometer of life in North Carolina,” said publisher Neal Robbins. “We wanted to be an effective and beneficial news source focusing on statewide coverage. Your local newspapers have obituaries, weddings, engagements and local coverage of your community. Newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post are providing the national coverage between the states. We exist between those two entities,” said Robbins.
The North State Journal began as a Sunday paper focusing on news, sports and features. Over the course of its first year, NSJ shifted its weekend edition to Saturday and added a business section, then began publishing a second weekly issue on Wednesdays.”This is not hyperbole, we have the best newspaper team in North Carolina bringing you stories other newspapers do not have and with a North Carolina focus,” said Robbins.”Take Sports in general. We are going beyond the box score and giving you the missing piece in sports coverage,” said Robbins. “We personalize the coverage and show you how the game influences the next game and season. In a forest, we are giving you the tree-top view.”For our series on the election we met our mission of delving deep and looking at the issues that are important to North Carolinians rather than the candidates. We took you inside education, economy, health care and even the demographics of North Carolina,” he added.The newspaper design has a modern look that stays true to the Southern roots of the paper. With specially designed color schemes including a variation of green known as “golf,” and a variation of yellow known as “corn,” the design, color and typography are setting the writing content and photography apart from competition.
The Society for News Design took notice and recently named North State Journal as one of the 12 finalists for World’s Best Designed Newspaper. More than 170 newspapers entered the competition, but only four from the United States were named, placing NSJ alongside the company of The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Villages Daily Sun of Florida.”The Society for News Design is a pre-eminent contest for all journalists and visual designers in the world for print and digital media,” said Deb Withey, design editor. “We have the smallest circulation and the smallest staff of those selected, and to be recognized in our first year of publication is pretty extraordinary as we are a finalist alongside several of the largest and most gifted newspapers in the world.”In conjunction with NSJ’s selection as a finalist, the Society for News Design judges wrote, “This newspaper is ambitious. Beautiful typography in the nameplate and page folios. Shows a great commitment to photography. Takes advantage of the vertical space. Great color palette that’s perfect for the community and geography.”Newspapers were asked to submit several examples of their finest work from the calendar year of Jan. 1, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2016. North State Journal, being the only weekly paper, had approximately 40 issues to select from where as other publications had 365 issues to consider.”This competition celebrates the unity of a newspaper from the editors to writers to designers to photojournalists,” said Withey. “It takes teamwork to produce a newspaper and every person is important.”
Still with a small staff compared to legacy newsrooms, the North State Journal has accrued a team of professionals, some veteran newshounds and some new to the industry.”We are so fortunate to have the caliber of talent on this paper that we do,” said managing editor Donna King. “We all want to create something that has the craftsmanship of previous generations with modern expectation of high design and reporting that digs deeper and elevates the conversation.”And of course, North State Journal is grateful for the readership from North Carolinians across the state. In 2017, NSJ will focus on continuing its unparalleled coverage as well as increasing its awareness and readership.”In 2017, our goal is to make sure you know your neighbor,” said Robbins.