IndieRegister.com serves as both an autonomous source for local news and commentary and as the online archive of the Independent Register, an alternative newspaper published in New Bern, North Carolina from September 2005 to January 2006.
The Independent Register was born in 2005 when three editors at the Campus Communicator, the student newspaper serving Craven Community College in New Bern, decided to publish their own alternative paper in Craven County. Founders and co-publishers Corey Friedman, William R. Toler and Eric Voliva drafted a business plan and applied for small business loans from the North Carolina Rural Center and were denied due to their youth and lack of collateral.
Disappointed but undaunted, the three friends and business partners rented a modest ranch house in New Bern — later christened Fort Insanity — that would serve as both home and office. The independently financed newspaper released its first edition on Sept. 27, 2005. Financial struggles plagued the Register, whose co-owners were forced to incur credit card debt in order to keep the presses rolling.
Including the premiere issue, the Independent Register published nine editions. In its pages, the newspaper tackled thorny and sometimes controversial local issues, including Craven Regional Medical Center’s lack of trauma center designation, a Bangert Elementary School student’s suspension on what her mother claims were religious grounds and radio self-censorship under threat of stiff Federal Communications Commission penalties.
The newspaper’s final print edition was published on Jan. 17, 2006. Co-publishers had hoped to continue operating the newspaper, but included a preemptive farewell editorial and feature story on the staff in the Jan. 17 issue. The forced decision to suspend publication was made on Jan. 23 and announced in a news release Jan. 25.
Founders Friedman, Toler and Voliva remain close friends, though they no longer live in the New Bern area. Reviving the Independent Register as a print newspaper is — for the forseeable future — prohibitively expensive, but the publication’s independent spirit and fierce editorial voice live on through indieregister.com.