Four years ago, something new came to the “Bear City.”
Four years ago, the dream of three young men came true.
Four years ago, the first issue of the Independent Register hit countertops, wire racks and crude news boxes across Craven County.
It was the result of a college camaraderie, several months of planning and an entire weekend with almost no sleep.
It was a small paper: Eight pages-two sections with color fronts. But in this case, size didn’t matter.
The three-man staff of Corey Friedman, Eric Voliva and William R. Toler took every picture, designed every page and wrote every article, with the exception of a short article from friend and frequent house guest Danelle Wylder, a front page story by CCC student Charlotte Bird about a visit to the college from Frank Capra, Jr. and a pro-marijuana op-ed by New Bern High School senior Amanda DaSilva.
At the time, it was one of Craven County’s two alternative newspapers, the other being the Vanceboro Voice which served as an inspiration to the aspiring publishers.
Through its 9-issue print run, the Independent Register consisted of coverage of local festivals, snappy editorials and topics not touched by the mainstream daily. It even followed the New Bern Bears varsity football team to the state championship game. It was community journalism at its best.
Other contributions to the content included photos by friends Evan Brinkley and Jessica Simpson and the witty writings of columnists Sandra Ervin Adams and Stephen Lewis. The only letters to the editor ever received were from Richard C. Evey, who is now a frequent contributer to this blog. More acknowledgements can be found on the “Thanks” page.
Though it was a costly venture and didn’t survive, the three founders don’t regret any minute of the experience.
When recalling the decision for choosing the picture that was used above the fold on the front page (for a story on the damage from Hurrican Ophelia), Toler and Friedman will quote, “Nothing says ‘New Bern’ like a big-ass bear!”
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