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Boone, Banner Elk, Blowing Rock

Local Newspapers and Magazines

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One never need be out of the loop regarding what is happening in the High Country. The Watauga Democrat, the Blowing Rocket, the Mountain Times, the High Country Press, and the Avery Journal keep us informed of all local current events.

The Watauga Democrat was launched in 1888 by the local Democratic party, with help from Joseph Spainhour and John S. Williams. The following year, R.C. Rivers, Sr. and D.B. Dougherty took over the newspaper, which had folded after the fall election. Rivers then took over the paper himself by the end of the year, starting a century-long run of family ownership. Throughout its 100 year history, the Watauga Democrat has been dedicated to providing the highest quality and most timely news coverage to the citizens of Watauga County.

The Democrat features local, state and national news; milestones (such as weddings, birth announcements and anniversaries), local and state sports, lifestyles, local opinion and commentary and award-winning photography. The Democrat has earned several state and national awards and although called the Democrat, the newspaper is dedicated to covering news in a non-partisan manner — providing fair and accurate content around the corner or around the world. The print edition is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The Blowing Rocket was first published in June 1932, a tabloid publication that was printed each week during the months of June, July and August. After the final week in August it was to put to bed until the following June.
The only paid person on the staff was the editor, most summers brought in from the School of Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Other "reporters" contributed material on a regular basis.

Printed in tabloid format, the weekly Blowing Rocket consisted of anywhere from eight to sixteen pages of ads and mostly society news. The main focus was comings and goings at Blowing Rock major hotels, important visitors to town, and news about special seasonal events such as the horse show, beauty pageant, benefits and parties.

In the 1950’s the newspaper began to be published in broadsheet, and on a year around basis. Instead of being a free publication, the price was set at a dime, and remained so until the 1980’s. It is interesting to note the The Blowing Rocket was the last newspaper in America, belonging to the National Press Association, to be sold for a dime – outlasting the Tombstone (Arizona) Epitaph who went to twenty-five cents in 1982. The Rocket followed shortly thereafter.

Today, over 70 years later, The Rocket is still published once weekly and sells for fifty cents per issue and is still available at both newsstands and by subscription.

The Mountain Times is an award-winning weekly publication that serves Watauga, Ashe, Avery Counties as well as the surrounding communities of the northwestern North Carolina High Country. Founded in 1978 by local resident Kenneth Ketchie, it serves a special niche covering community news and entertainment happenings. In 2002, it was purchased by a community-focused newspaper organization, Jones Media, Inc., of Greeneville, Tennessee, and thanks to the vision of this company it remains dedicated to the ideals and character set by the original founder.

In addition to the regular weekly edition, The Mountain Times staff also publishes three seasonal publications, The Summer Times, The Autumn Times and The Winter Times, which serve as visitor guides to the beautiful High Country region.

The Mountain Times Online is an award-winning website (1st place, 2000, 2nd place 2002, National Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest, and 1st place in the North Carolina Press Association’s best website 2003) designed to bring our weekly and seasonal publications to the internet, as well as offering special online-only content.

The High Country Press first hit the newsstands in May of 2005. Founded by Ken Ketchie (the original founder and owner of the Mountain Times) and company, the newspaper serves as a "hometown" paper for Watauga and Avery Counties of Northwestern North Carolina. The paper is based in downtown Boone, and focuses on covering news, community information and events in the surrounding area of the High Country. Every two months, the High Country Press publishes the area’s best slick publication, High Country Magazine.

All of these publications are available in print and online.

Community Links
Watauga Democrat
The Blowing Rocket
Mountain Times
High Country Press
The Avery Journal