Former employees and friends of The Daily Dispatch celebrated the newspaper’s 100th birthday Tuesday.
Mayor Pete O’Geary said reading Henderson’s daily paper has become part of his daily routine.
“When I don’t see my paper in the morning, I get excited,” he said.
Dennis Tharrington — former general manager and part of the family who owned The Dispatch before Paxton Media Group bought it in the 1990s — said a community-based newspaper is critical.
“The local paper is the only and best source of news in the community,” he said. “Local news is where it’s at, and I hope this paper will go for another hundred years.”
Tharrington was in charge of advertising and production. He was responsible for running all aspects of paper, except for editorial department.
“I was really involved in the technology of producing the paper,” he said. “By 1986, we were the most automated newspaper in the world. This was the first newspaper in the world to have total pagination.”
Pagination refers to the process of laying out the pages in a newspaper on a computer.
Tharrington said The Dispatch was the first to have electronic pagination, which was done manually before computers were widely used.
Terri Hedrick worked at the paper for 15 years — first as a reporter and then a wire editor.
“I graduated from college and came to work at The Dispatch in June 1979,” she said. “I was initially the reporter who covered Warren County. Later, I covered the Henderson beat, which ironically included the Board of Education. And now here I am working for the school system.”
Hedrick is now the public information officer for Vance County Schools — her former beat.
“I always liked it,” she said of her time at The Dispatch. “It was different every day. I got to meet a lot of great people who worked here and in the community. Of course, I still work with most of them in my capacity with the school.”
Advertising director Deborah Tuck, who has worked at the paper for more than 30 years, said one of the biggest adjustments during her tenure was seeing the printing press relocated from inside the building on Chestnut Street.
“The biggest change was knowing everything is done here and now having it done outside the building,” she said. “I wouldn’t say it’s harder; it’s just so different.”
Despite the changes, Tuck said she continues to have faith in the local paper.
“I believe in print,” she said. “I wouldn’t have stayed here this long if I didn’t believe in it.”
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