Your home state newspaper

Neal Robbins is publisher of the North State Journal.

As we say goodbye to Volume Two of the North State Journal and welcome our third volume today, I have taken stock of the excellent journalism our stable of writers, photographers and designers have created during these first two years of publication. The North State Journal has published more than 6,000 articles in print and online since our launch in February 2016. Those stories began in Volume One when we introduced the state to our goal of elevating the conversation. In Volume Two, we sought to tell the whole story of our remarkable state with our Volume Two tagline: The whole state, the whole story. As we open Volume Three, our new tagline (look for it on the masthead on A2) is “Your home state newspaper.”

Last week was a fitting end to Volume Two as the N.C. Press Association held its winter meetings and awarded the top newspapers from across the state for journalistic excellence. I was not surprised to see the North State Journal team awarded with a plethora of awards that reached across all sections and topics. After receiving 26 individual awards, the North State Journal was awarded first place for General Excellence in its category. I was proud to share the stage with a great team who has committed to elevating the conversation while also presenting a product that subscribers from across North Carolina want to pick up and read. The North State Journal was one of the most-awarded newspapers in N.C., regardless of classification.

These recent awards add to the 16 awards the North State Journal received from the N.C. Press Photographers in April 2017. While I can’t list all of the awards, I take special pride in our first-place awards for best Sports Coverage and best special section for our 2016 year in review. Sports Editor Cory Lavalette’s feature on his wife, Barb, titled “Living on the Transplant List” was a poignant tribute from a devoted spouse and informative piece for all North Carolinians about the importance of organ donation. That article was most deserving of its first-place award for best feature writing.

Editor Donna King had her hand in almost every award, but her leadership of our statewide political and government coverage was noted as the NSJ was first place for Election and Political Reporting. Meeting my charge to create a newspaper full of truth and beauty, the North State Journal was also first place for use of photographs and for appearance and design.

As we celebrate our Volume Two accomplishments, we are already setting goals for Volume Three. We hope to become the home state newspaper for every community in North Carolina. We have steadily improved in many areas since our first issue in 2016 but, we still have mountains to climb, piedmonts to cross and coastal plains to harvest. We are working diligently to deliver the print edition faster and to provide more opportunities for readers to pick up copies of the Wednesday print issue. We are also focused on expanding our regional coverage to tell even more great stories of the people and places in our state.

Welcome to Volume Three of the North State Journal — your home state newspaper.

Neal Robbins is publisher of the North State Journal.