The Jewett Messenger Joins The News 3 Network

By: Alex Lotz Email
By: Alex Lotz Email

Since it's birth in 1885, the Jewett Messenger has faced unforseeable challenges. In the 1970s, the paper's building on Main Street caught fire, destroying archives and incinerating priceless pieces of the paper's history.

"A lot of history was lost when that building burned," editor David Clute said.

Since the original building burned, the paper hasn't had a stable office until recently.

"The paper has actually been in four or five locations until we wound up here," Clute said. Even though he has only been there a little over a year, Clute takes pride in the small town's paper and it's rich history. He said he is doing everything in his power to preserve the art of the newspaper, while leading it into the future.

"The printing process, I think, has suffered over the years," Clute said. "I've watched the printing process come to what it is now, which is basically all digital."

The Jewett Messenger Online only launched about four months ago, but it is already taking off.

"Our online subscriptions are going up," Clute said.

Clute and his staff update the online paper daily with local, state and national news.

"It's a really comprehensive website," Clute said. "I have been updating it every day."

Despite the shift of having to go online, Clute believes newspapers will continue to sell. "It seems to be picking up," Clute said. "It has grown some. I have found that in smaller towns, people still appreciate the printed paper."

So every week, about 1,800 papers are distributed throughout Leon County, while others can view the latest local edition online for only a small fee.

The editor is hoping the increase in subscriptions will lead to more people visiting town. "We're trying to bring folks to town and get tourism going a little bit up here," Clute said.

Clute looks at photos of the the paper's past and knows the business is changing, but he thinks the future of the 130-year-old paper looks bright.

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