The Wilkes Journal-Patriot is an award-winning, family-owned newspaper that has been dedicated to covering the news of Wilkes County and serving as a voice for the well-being of the county for over 100 years.The newspaper’s roots go back to May 1906, when Charles Holden Cowles started The Wilkes Patriot in a small brick building near the Wilkes County Courthouse in Wilkesboro.
In 1910, he hired Julius C. Hubbard of Wilkesboro to work at The Wilkes Patriot. Hubbard was 12 and his father had died the same year. He started as a “printer’s devil,” learning to set type by hand, operate a hand-fed press and do nearly everything else in the paper office. Daniel J. Carter of North Wilkesboro started The Wilkes Journal in North Wilkesboro in 1917 and later hired Hubbard to be editor. They eventually became partners as owners of The Journal-Patriot, which resulted from the merger of The Wilkes Patriot and The Wilkes Journal. Within a few years, Hubbard acquired full ownership in The Journal-Patriot. He died in 1972, just after an offset press and related type-setting equipment were installed. Wilkes was later returned to the name of the newspaper.
The newspaper operated in three buildings on Ninth Street, North Wilkesboro, for several years. The current building, on Main Street, North Wilkesboro, was constructed in 1979.
Dwight Vance Nichols was editor of the newspaper for over 50 years. He was preceded by Willard Cole, who later won a Pulitzer Prize at The Whiteville News Reporter. Dick Underwood was editor here after Nichols. Charles Williams succeeded Underwood and continued in the position until August 13, 2014. Jule Hubbard is the current editor.
The newspaper was published on Mondays and Thursdays until becoming a tri-weekly in 1996, publishing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Julius C. Hubbard’s sons, Julius C. “Buddy” Hubbard and John W. Hubbard, now are co-publishers of The Wilkes Journal-Patriot. It is one of the few family-owned newspapers left in the state.
As technology evolved, production of the newspaper went from “hot type, using linotype machines to form letters from melted lead, to “cold type” on paper that was waxed and arranged on pages. Today, the newspaper’s pages are laid out on computer screens using software designed for that purpose.
With increased prominence of the Internet, comparable to the Gutenberg press for its impact on newspapers, The Wilkes Journal-Patriot established a website that is continually updated and expanded.
Amid the rapidly increased pace of change in the newspaper business and rise of the Internet as a source of information, The Wilkes Journal-Patriot remains firmly focused on being accurate, fair and thorough.