All He Could See Was Ears Coming At Him

I worked at the ‘World’s Smallest Daily Newspaper,’ the Tryon Daily Bulletin, for 8 years. In fact, I sort of still do; I moonlight there when they need an extra hand, or if something that I put together breaks, and if I get short on cash and need to pick up a few hours. In other words: I don’t work there, I’m a consultant.

I have never seen people have such an attachment to a publication. Tryon loves the Bulletin, even when they laugh at it, when they find typos and giggle, and that inanity of the local bridge scores, or the elementary school honor roll, the petty county politics. But the paper reflects the community, and the readers are in on the joke. It’s a town institution. Merely saying ‘I work at the Bulletin’ opened numerous conversations and lent me an air of responsibility that I had to grow into. I was hired there when I was 16, and I have a lot to thank that place for.

While I was cleaning out an old drawer, I found an old issue from 1995 and I immediately saw why I kept it. This is my first memory of the Bulletin.

*My family lived on River Road for a time. Ralph Terciera was a Bermudan millionaire who retired near Tryon. My family would often see him in his mule cart, his corpulent body (we nicknamed him Jabba) lounging in the back, while a thin, smiling gentleman chaffeured.

The phrase ‘independent media’ is thrown around a lot these days, but the Bulletin embodies that. It’s completely independent. The owner sits in the front office. No corporate attitudes or budgets to meet. Nobody loses their job because some HR person 400 miles away didn’t like the numbers. The writing, customer service, production, and printing all are accomplished on the three floors of the 16 North Trade Building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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