An advertising slogan from the 1960s used the phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Some credit Irish poet Oscar Wilde for the quote and others American actor Will Rogers; regardless of who said it first, Wilkes County does not need to worry about second chances.

My first impression of the people of Wilkes County is one of kind and caring individuals. No matter where I went during my first week here I was greeted with a smile (although behind a mask, I could still tell you were smiling), and some of the most helpful people I have met in a long time.

It didn’t take long to appreciate the beauty of the area, its scenic views and to recognize a vibrant community with locally-owned businesses and restaurants to visit.

Through all this, I was impressed by the support this community gives to its newspaper and in return the commitment this newspaper has for its community. It is a relationship started more than 114 years ago and one we plan to continue to develop for many years to come.

I have been asked if I will be making changes to the paper. The newspaper industry has changed and evolved since the first newspaper was published in 1690. And while some change is necessary for any business to remain relevant, what will never change is our commitment to community journalism, to fair and accurate reporting and our belief that a printed newspaper serves a purpose for the residents and business of the communities we serve.

Paxton Media Group, like Carter-Hubbard Publishing, is a family-owned media company headquartered in Paducah, Ky. William F. Paxton began his company more than 124 years ago after purchasing his first newspaper. Today, the Paxtons operate more than 30 daily newspapers and a number of weekly and niche publications throughout the Midwest and South.

Here in North Carolina, Paxton Media owns and operates nearby the Lenoir News Topic, The High Point Enterprise, The (Monroe) Enquirer-Journal, the Forest City Daily Courier, The (Henderson) Daily Dispatch, The Sanford Herald, (Roanoke Rapids) Daily Herald, and The (Goldsboro) News-Argus. We are excited that the Wilkes Journal-Patriot is now part of this family and look forward to continuing the long tradition of excellence started by the Hubbard and Carter families.

It is my personal goal for you to experience the same positive first impression of me and Paxton Media as we had of you.

I look forward to earning your trust in the years ahead as the new publisher of your community newspaper.

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