The Eastern Beacon was founded September 11th, 2018, as a Facebook group titled “Beaufort NC – Florence Community Discussion Group.” I started the group to keep information flowing between neighbors who stayed put during Hurricane Florence. My intention was to share weather, utility outage and damage updates during and immediately after the storm. I imagined the group might last 2 weeks at most before no longer being useful.
Instead, it blew up. Within five days, 3,000 people had joined the group. By the 17th, the Town of Beaufort was sending me news to publish. I started reporting on recovery efforts and local government’s response to the disaster. By the end of September, the group had grown to more than 3,500 members.
I have been inundated with messages from people saying that the group was the only place to find quickly reported, reliable information during and after the storm. Dozens of people have contacted me asking if I would consider making it official – to provide an alternative news source for our area. The response has been exciting, yet humbling.
It has also been a bit scary. I have a degree in Media Communications, a minor in Journalism and 4 years of experience in newsrooms, including a stint at the Carteret County News-Times from 2011-2013. I know the industry, but the task of providing accurate and fair reporting for thousands of readers is daunting.
For the past three months I’ve spent a lot of time debating whether to run with it or not. I’d spent so much time volunteer-reporting (and enjoying every minute of it) that I all but stopped seeking out paid work as a freelance web designer. I had to choose whether to recommit myself to my career as a designer, or leap into something new.
I’ve decided to leap.
I plan to spend the next few months developing a format and publishing schedule for TheEasternBeacon.com. I want to gain your trust as a reliable, credible and transparent source for information.
Thank you for all of your support and participation over the past few months. I hope you’ll continue reading as “the Beaufort Flo Group” continues its evolution into a serious online newspaper covering Eastern Carteret County.
Founder & Editor