With the plethora of military bases across the Old North State, you can appreciate the challenges faced by local media when it comes to effectively covering their turf when those bases exist and operate as separate and restricted worlds, especially when it comes to the free flow of information.
Still, given that challenge, papers that serve Fort Bragg Military Reservation and Pope Field (the Fayetteville Observer), the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station (the Havelock News), and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (the Goldsboro News-Argus) do a remarkably good job.
And so does the Jacksonville Daily News, located far off the interstates in Deep Eastern North Carolina in a city of 66,000 in which practically everything revolves around the sprawling Camp Lejeune Marine Base and the New River Marine Air Station, (pop. 41,000) — or as locals call it, simply, “the base.”
Reporters at the JDN seemed excited about the Roadshow and in improving their journalistic skills. The workshop included Chris Segal, managing editor; Amanda Thames, crime reporter; Amanda Humphrey, online editor; Michaela Sumner, features reporter; Naomi Whidden, reporter; Jannette Pippin, reporter — and last but not least, Michael Todd, reporter, a UNC J-schooler who several years ago cranked out an undergrad honors thesis I’ll long remember.
Fluent in Spanish, Michael set out to document the Spanish-language newspapers in North Carolina, and found out some amazing facts: that at the time there were about two dozen such community newspapers, and that for a myriad of reason, of those 24 papers, only two belonged to the North Carolina Press Association. In other words, Michael alerted me to the fact that there are many ethnic papers out there under the radar, serving their niche publics out of the eye of the mainstream media — and certainly off the grid when it comes to media trade groups like the NCPA.
This seems to be a re-occurring theme: niche publications such as local guides seen above, are real money-makers for community newspapers. The magazines produced by the Jacksonville Daily News are prime examples.