From the Editor

Drescher: 118 years brings change

‘The Old Reliable’ looks different, but our mission is still to chronicle the events of a dynamic state

jdrescher@newsobserver.comAugust 12, 2012 

The News & Observer was born 118 years ago today on Sunday, Aug. 12, 1894. Josephus Daniels, later secretary of the Navy, bought the paper at an auction for $10,000. The paper had been called the News-Observer-Chronicle.

The N&O has played a special role in public life in North Carolina, as columnist Rob Christensen notes today.

To commemorate the newspaper’s birth, we designed today’s Triangle & N.C. section to reflect the appearance of that first edition.

Daniels said The N&O would chronicle the events that interest the people of Raleigh and North Carolina. “The future of the state is bright with promise,” he wrote.

That first paper included reports on politics from Durham, Statesville and Washington, D.C. The only news pictures were portraits of the state Supreme Court justices.

In today’s parlance, someone who compiles news from a variety of sources is an “aggregator.” The first N&O was an aggregator. It collected brief reports from across the state in the “Murphy to Manteo” feature that ran for decades. Other regular features were years away; our first Tar Heel of the Week was named in 1950.

In the early 1890s, Raleigh had about 15,000 residents; today it has 400,000. Raleigh has changed, and so has The N&O.

The print paper is still important, but we also report the news digitally through,, our e-edition (an electronic newspaper that looks like the print paper) and through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. More N&O digital options are on the way.

Thanks for reading The N&O. The future of the state is bright with promise.

Drescher: 919-829-4515. On Twitter: @john_drescher

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