One Paper that Can’t Claim a ‘No-spin’ Zone

By: Jim Rosenberg

Starting a newspaper to clean up a community is an old story, but starting a newspaper where folks literally clean ? in the middle of a laundromat ? well, that’s news.

Longtime friends James McDougald and Joyce McRae publish every issue of The Maxton Times from Express Laundry, their laundromat in the struggling tiny North Carolina town too remote for any daily to bother covering. So two years ago, McDougald and McRae launched a monthly broadsheet in an unlikely rinse-and-fluff-dry newsroom.

Neither had any experience as journalists, but editor McRae and publisher McDougald (below) quickly discovered they were perfectly positioned to cover Maxton. When it comes to news, McDougald says, “Quite a bit of it walks in the door.”

McRae cleans up copy in the laundromat and e-mails it to their graphics person, Julie Dorsey, who sends Adobe InDesign page files to Interco Printing in Winston-Salem, about 140 miles away. McDougald hauls most of the 5,000-copy pressrun to area retailers and schools. The free paper even generates a bit of revenue through commercial and private placement ads, and even unsolicited donations. “We make our $1,000 per month by the blessings of God,” says McDougald.

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