SMN brings home 26 N.C. Press Awards

The Smoky Mountain News team won 26 editorial awards in the 2020 North Carolina Press Association News and Editorial Contest. 

Play trivia with The Smoky Mountain News

Bar trivia is a cherished tradition for many in Western North Carolina, but such quiz nights are one of the many causalities of the COVID-19 closures that have swept our nation and the world at large.

A glimmer of light, perhaps, in the darkness

Way back, way back, like three or four weeks ago, our little company was on track for its best year ever.

Our print newspaper was going strong and we had just added a new, energetic and driven sales professional. Our digital footprint was growing faster than we had expected, and our staff was brimming with new ideas to help local businesses get their message out via several online platforms. Our niche publishing sector had grown significantly in the last 12 months, adding two annual magazines and the four-time-per-year Blue Ridge Motorcycling Magazine to our portfolio.

The Coronavirus and The Smoky Mountain News

No book review today. 

But please read this column.

Smoky Mountain News again recognized for journalistic excellence

It was another good year for community journalism in Western North Carolina, and writers from The Smoky Mountain News were a big part of it, taking home more editorial awards — 21 — than any other newspaper in its class. 

2019: What just happened?

As we ring in the New Year, The Smoky Mountain News likes to look back and reflect on the last year of news. 

The headlines that have graced our pages in 2019 have had an important impact on the people of Western North Carolina, and our staff has taken its job of reporting and analyzing those issues seriously.

Fake News Freakout!!!!!! Four

By Cory Vaillancourt • Fake News Editor | It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right, it’s time for our annual installment of the Fake News Freakout, in which we take stories that sprout from a small grain of truth, harvest them, and then process them into a multi-layered cake of mockery and silliness frosted with fraud. 

Can you put a value on what we provide?

Does the information we provide each week — information that we have been producing free for the last 20 years — have a value? I am asking that question of all of our readers.

At our inception in June 1999, we were not so unusual in the newspaper world. We decided to give the paper away, our revenue source being the advertisers who wanted to get their message to our readers. That remains a relatively common model in our business, and you can look around the world and around Western North Carolina and find other print media who do the same.

The Naturalist's Corner: 20 years are in the can; as they say in the biz

I can’t, thinking back now, remember what the two floors below us were at 9 Main Street, in 1999 when this adventure known as The Smoky Mountain News took flight. I can, however, testify those five or six of us stuck around in the nooks and crannies of that third floor, all with electric heaters under our desks during the winter of 1999 were not thinking about where or what The Smoky Mountain News would be in 20 years.

Loving every word of it, all 630,000

Let’s start with some basic mathematics.

For 20 years, I have reviewed books for The Smoky Mountain News. For some of those years, I shared the position of reviewer with that fine storyteller and playwright, Gary Carden. Occasionally, too, others like writer and poet Thomas Rain Crowe have published reviews in this space.

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At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.