I think it all started when Production Manager Vernon Thompson came whisking around the corner from the paste-up department and into the newsroom of the old Carteret County News-Times offices at 4037 Arendell St. in Morehead City. (That facility is now Substation No. 3 of the Morehead City Fire Department, with an updated stone and brick façade.)
Early in 1981, the News-Times became the first fully computerized newspaper in the state, which meant each reporter had access to his or her own computer, which speaks well to the vision of the Phillips family in recognizing the coming transformation of digital media and computer printing technology.
Vernon was waving a clipboard and made straight for my desk. If memory serves, staff at that time included Managing Editor Jeff Jones, laboring away at editing and dispatching copy to pre-press; Lisa Taylor, cops/crime reporter and ace photog; John Hackney, covering the sports desk; Beth Blake, hammering the courts and county beat and who would eventually take over the reigns as managing editor; Brad Rich, town government, eco-beat guru and my future partner-in-crime with the notorious, recurring column “Quibbles & Bits;” Joni King, on features and spot news; and Joan Greene, covering religion and Compass Points activities.
Walter Phillips directed the paper’s editorial section with an opinionated yet open mind. A former Marine, Walter once had to tell me how “Semper Fidelis” is spelled, and that is just one of the many lessons I learned while in his employ.
Publisher Eleanore Phillips would gracefully stroll through the newsroom occasionally to check on the family business, and I always felt I was in the presence of nobility. Which, I was.
“Chuck! We’re gonna need that entertainment calendar for the Weekender. Will you send that through to film,” Vernon barked.
I hit the send button, and This Weekend Magazine was born. The first edition of This Week Magazine was published in 1978, and I was the new guy recently hired to juggle entertainment, business, the state port, chamber of commerce, Newport town government and maybe a little military and N.C. Department of Transportation business thrown in there, as well.
Not to mention having to write, edit, proofread (with limited success) and lay out my pages, but roll, shoot, print and develop my photos in the communal darkroom. News-Times staffers had to wear many haberdasheries (i.e.: hats) back in the day, and still do. Not that I minded for one minute – it was the best on-the-job journalism training I ever had and stood me well when I moved on to the Raleigh News & Observer in 1988. But, that’s another story.
Facilitating all the content was Lockwood Phillips, who directed the advertising department, without which no newspaper or magazine could exist.
Not sure exactly when it first came up, but at some point Lockwood suggested, “Why don’t we make Weekender a real magazine and not just a throw-away grocery store supplement?”
And, somehow – we did.
There were some growing pains. “That’s an ‘orphan’ quote, you can’t use that on the cover!” Or, “That’s a hot type right now, better not overuse it,” Lockwood would argue. And he was always right.
The fledging TWM was an attempt to put out a weekly guide highlighting all of the various recreational, cultural, sports and entertainment options for locals and tourists alike to consider for any given week. It was timed to hit the racks Thursday, so it could include the Wednesday and Friday grocery store chain ad supplements.
Outgrowing the Arendell Street plant, in June 2006 the CCNT moved to its current location at 4206 Bridges St. On Thursday, July 4, the final print version of TWM will roll off the press. It will continue as an online offering, available through carolinacoastonline.com, and will remain a free product.
During its run, TWM totaled 2,031 editions and was snapped up at many locations throughout the Carteret County distribution area.
Circulation peaked at 75,000 prints throughout seven counties from 1998 to 2000.
Some of the subsequent editors included (in no particular order) Cathy Neal Hoggard, James Minor, Taylor McCune, Craig Ramey, Lindsay Street, Jackie Delano, Bonnie Pollock, Jennifer Allen, Melissa Jones and current Editor Megan Soult, who has masterfully helmed TWM since 2015.
It is with genuine sadness to reflect on the final print version of TWM, the one you can actually hold in your hands and not have to access through some computer, cell phone or streaming device.
Driven by economic necessity, the News-Times announced recently the publication’s printing will now be outsourced to Adams Publishing Group in Greenville.
Though things are changing for the News-Times, Lockwood Phillips said readers will still be able to access the magazine for free, just as in previous years.
“The publication was provided for our temporary guests and our day-trippers to get a quick and easy view of what’s happening in the county,” he said. “Carteret County and the Crystal Coast has a lot going for it. We will have more fun with the magazine on the digital side and the process will give us greater freedom.”
The News-Times facility at 4206 Bridges St. is currently under contract.
While the paper’s offices may eventually relocate to a smaller and more cost-efficient facility, the award-winning triweekly will remain the only comprehensive print and online source of local and statewide news important to residents of the Crystal Coast, Carteret County and all of eastern North Carolina.
This Week Magazine still lives, only you won’t be able to fold it up and put it your pocket or beach bag anymore.
Ain’t technology wonderful!?