ROBBINS: The North State Journal: progress toward an ambitious goal

Eamon Queeney—The North State Journal
The North State Journal's first print run runsthrough the presses at the Gaston Gazette in Gastonia

That’s interesting, but I bet you don’t write about my home county. I’m from Windsor in Bertie County.”That was the response I received from a lady in Winston-Salem after I told her I was the publisher of a brand new newspaper and our mission was to cover the whole state. Just the week before, the North State Journal had launched and the features section lead story was titled “Windsor’s own Fen Rascoe,” about a Bertie County painter. The piece was written by Raleigh writer Dan Reeves. I told the woman about the story and her response was, “Well, I just might have to pick up a copy of a newspaper that covers my hometown.”What I did not fully understand at that point was just how hard it would be to enable her to pick up a copy. Printing and delivering a statewide newspaper is a challenge. Printing a newspaper that has the most thorough use of color on the brightest newsprint of any newspaper in the state and delivering that newspaper to a subscriber base that is made up of influencers, news hounds, politicos and CEOs is a major challenge.We are working with the best of the best when it comes to print and delivery, but the North State Journal has proven to be a challenge even for veterans in the print and delivery industries. As we learned more about the manufacturing and logistical challenges of our newspaper, we adapted — and are still adapting. But, just like our journalists and designers, I think our print and delivery results improve each week.We are a company that must engender confidence in our words and in our actions. I won’t declare premature victory, but I think we are marching toward high quality marks in the four major areas of making a newspaper — writing, design, printing, and delivery.As we continue to focus on North Carolina people, places, and teams while we perfect our printing and delivery operations, we have already had an impact on our readers, our advertisers, and the media landscape. When readers are calling to thank writers for stories they did not find anywhere else, advertisers are reporting calls from three hours outside their home area, and other newspapers are assigning reporters to cover the North State Journal, we are delivering on our three-part promise: elevate the conversation, help readers make informed decisions, and broaden awareness of our remarkable state.Just like the rest of the North State Journal’s leadership team, I am a lifelong North Carolinian. I always knew that North Carolina was a great state and that when I leave its borders, I always want to come home. But being part of the North State Journal has broadened my appreciation of the people and places that I did not know as well.From artists on the Albemarle Sound to the exciting appearances in the NCAA tournament by UNC Wilmington in basketball and baseball, and between craft breweries in the mountains to the Moogfest’s Asheville-Durham nexus, as a reader and a participant, I believe the North State Journal is doing a job that no one has done before — and we are doing it better each and every week. Neal Robbins, from Asheboro, N.C., is publisher of the North State Journal.