Reflection: An inside look

By William R. Toler

As the third anniversary of the first issue approaches, nostalgia sets in.

Here is a look back…at a look inside Fort Insanity…and the pinnacle of publication of Craven County’s (former) alternative news source:

It’s 3 o’clock in the morning.

There are three computers on.

Behind three desks littered with notebooks, miscellaneous papers and caffeinated beverages sit three sleep-deprived young men.

For the co-publishers of the Independent Register, this is a common occurrence.

Corey Friedman, editor, scratches his head and stares — sometimes shouting profanities — at his computer screen, trying to work out a lede for one of the “umpteen” news stories or editorials in his section. Two weeks worth of press releases and notes from various news events wait their turn to be compiled into their final form.

Sports Editor Eric Voliva, meanwhile, is in his room/office playing back coach quotes from a recent high school game on a microcassette recorder. Elated from a recent Carolina Panthers victory, he gathers national sports scores in a spreadsheet for his back page. Later, he will poll the other two for their picks on a sampling of upcoming games and to select players for their fantasy football teams.

Walking in from the cool night air after his hourly smoke break, self proclaimed “jack of all trades, master of jack” Features Editor William R. Toler sits down at his desk to prepare local band listings, transfer pictures and figure out ad placement.

The end result of two weeks of gathering, a weekend of writing and designing and a trip to Morehead City is a copy of the alternative newspaper you now hold in your hands.

The lads cut their teeth on various media outlets before coming together on their current venture. The tie that bound them together was the experience of working on the Campus Communicator (affectionately referred to as “the Commie”) at Craven Community College. Their writing, photography and layout skills developed as they worked their way up becoming the top editors of the monthly publication.

Toler took over layout of the Campus Communicator — which had previously been done by a desktop publishing class — in November of 2002. During 2003, he also assisted in ad design for Dad’s Magazine and interned for the morning television show “A.M. Scuttlebutt.” In addition, he served as historian for the state chapter of Phi Beta Lambda, a national collegiate business organization. His main duty was to design two issues of the chapter’s newsletter, the Heartbeat of PBL. With the stress of television and other school related activities, Toler resigned from the Commie, only to return as managing editor a year later.

Friedman served as editor of the Campus Communicator for one year after a year of reporting. In addition, he worked part-tme as a general assignment reporter for the Sun Journal. He began as a freelance columnist while in high school, moving on to become a freelance sportswriter, and was hired for part-time employment following a summer internship. He also worked for the local public access station C-TV 10 and freelanced for the short-lived publication Wheelhouse Magazine.

Following two months of sports writing for the Commie, Voliva took over as production manager after Toler’s departure. When CCC’s administration ceased the work-study payment of the position, he joined the Pamlico News as a sportswriter. During the summer, while high school sports were on hiatus, the aspiring novelist served as a journeyman reporter covering local government and writing features.

After the dishes are washed, the laundry is done and the bills are paid, Friedman, Voliva and Toler say that they strive to put out a publication that provides Craven County with accurate information and gives citizens an open forum for the free exchange of ideas.



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