COLUMN: Strong roots keep getting stronger

When I decided to form a News-Journal Community Advisory Board I must be honest, I never expected it to garner the response it did.

Nearly 40 people called, emailed or visited the office specifically to express interest. Several more people mentioned in passing their schedule prevented them from officially putting their name in contention, but otherwise they would have.

Even more people said they had no interest in being on the board, but made mention it was a good idea and they were interested to see how it all plays out.

One may think having a larger pool of people from which to choose made the decision easier – it did not. Although some were automatically taken out of contention because of certain positions or roles he or she has in the community, around 30 people remained legitimate, viable candidates.

It is important to convey to those not chosen it was nothing personal – it was simply a process of elimination that ultimately came down, in some cases, to picking the person who responded earlier. As I said previously, my intent was to put a board in place that is diverse in every conceivable aspect, and I believe I came as close as possible to doing that.

Members of the inaugural News-Journal Community Advisory Board are:

• Lars Rousseau;

• Becky Sutton;

• Maureen Thornton;

• Beth Morris;

• Bill Bowman;

• Elaine Percival;

• Robin Buchanan; and

• John Pendley.

Five women and four men, including myself; lifelong Mitchell County residents and newcomers; liberals, conservatives and moderates; residents of Bakersville, Spruce Pine and Little Switzerland; retired and working; and varied educational backgrounds.

Those who expressed interest but were not appointed to the board will be at the top of the list when the second board is put in place about a year from now.

Just as in every other aspect of the News-Journal, transparency is key here. Want to know why you weren’t chosen? Want to know why I chose the ones I did? Call or email me. Everyone was given equal consideration.

Many newspapers have roots in the community and the News-Journal Community Advisory Board ensures this newspaper’s roots are like those of a radish.

Brandon Roberts is editor and publisher of the Mitchell News-Journal. He can be reached by calling 828-765-7169, by email at or by stopping by the newspaper’s office at 261 Locust St. in Spruce Pine.

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
Fax: 828-765-1616