"The only newspaper, since 1958, devoted exclusively to the issues and events of Highlands and its people..."
The Highlander is published with pride for the people of Highlands, Macon and adjoining counties by Community Newspapers, Inc., Athens, GA. We believe that strong newspapers build strong communities -- "Newspapers get things done!" Our primary goal is to publish distinguished and profitable community-oriented newspapers. This mission will be accomplished through the teamwork of professionals dedicated to truth, integrity, loyalty, quality and hard work.
The very first newspaper entitled The Highlander hit the streets August 7, 1885. In his first editorial, editor Richard Goldie separated the Southern brand of journalism from that which came from up North as "more civil, more respectable, and for the most part void of bad language."
Minnie Clark, the wife of Highlands Albert Clark, bought and took over publishing the paper in 1886 and offered subscriptions for what she saw as a bargain. The eight-page weekly was a dollar for a year's subscriptions. And if the money was a problem, she offered an alternative form of payment: six to eight chickens, or as many dozen eggs, two bushels of potatoes or apples, seventy bundles of fodder at the present price or two bushels of corn at fifty cents.
A bargain, to say the least.
Although Highlands was the small town its remnants still show today, it took hard stances on controversial issues - even back then. The paper condemned the action of white youths who had thrown eggs at an African-American boy, calling the act "cowardly and contemptible." It praised the town as a "dry town," where quiet and order trumped the drunkenness and annoying noises that could be found in towns "not very far away."
But in February of 1887, it printed its last edition and unexpired subscriptions were refunded. Clark cited time and a lack of compensation as the central reasons for pulling the plug.
Papers came and papers went for the next fifty years until The Highlander resurfaced in 1937. Editor S.J. Fullwood printed only five editions of the weekly from August to September of that year, eventually bowing out.
The Mountain Trail, a student operated paper, along with several mimeographed publications, such as The Galaxy News, would give Highlands its news for the next 20 years until Jim and Martha Goode found the need for a more formal, professional format. They resurrected The Highlander for a third and final time on May 23, 1958.
It started in the Goode's living room with only a few part-time volunteers. After the long winters began to cut down on advertising, the Goodes sold the publishing rights to The Franklin Press and its parent company, Community Newspapers, Inc. Martha Good would stay on as editor.
The Highlander has flourished since, bringing home numerous NC Press Awards and other accolades. It is published twice a week during the spring, summer and fall tourist seasons and goes down to once a week during the winter. Published in Franklin, it is written and edited out of its current office on 134 North Fifth Street, its home now for over two decades. Its current staff, much larger than the one that used to burn the midnight oil in Martha Goode's living room, still hold true to the same beliefs that Goldie and Clark stood for so long ago - a community-oriented newspaper through the teamwork of professionals dedicated to truth, integrity, loyalty, quality and hard work.
And although chickens are not accepted as payment anymore, the knowledge of what is going on in your community, schools, churches, social groups, city government and everything that you hold dear to your heart, the things that make Highlands your home - all in one newspaper - remains a bargain still to this day.
Written by staff writer Ryan Chambers.
Source for historical reference taken from "Heart of the Blue Ridge" by Randolph P. Shaffner