Proud to mark a century of service

Published 6:43 pm Tuesday, September 29, 2020

In pondering a theme for today’s commemoration of The Smithfield Times’ 100th year of publication, we settled on “resilience” as the best description of a community newspaper that keeps doing its job no matter the circumstances.

Webster defines resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.” Come hell or high water – or even a global health pandemic – there’s a next edition to publish, important stories to tell and a community to inform. And The Smithfield Times has done it admirably for the past century.

Nearly all of the credit goes to the publishers, editors and reporters before us, especially the estimable John Edwards, one of the finest newspapermen to have plied the trade. Smithfield is a stronger community today in no small measure because, for the better part of a half-century, it was blessed to have John chronicle its successes and challenges – and, through constructive commentary, nudge it to discover its better self.

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Succeeding John and his wife, Anne, nearly a year ago was equally an immense honor and a daunting challenge, for the bar had been set high. Little did we know that COVID-19 – and an economic shutdown that choked local business’ advertising dollars, a newspaper’s lifeblood – lurked around the corner. Still, we published every week, providing vital information for a community navigating an unprecedented health and economic crisis.

It’s what newspapers do. The world around us can be crumbling, our community in turmoil, but there’s a deadline to meet, facts to report and careful commentary to construct. We’re proud to have done it for a hundred years. We thank the thousands of loyal readers and advertisers who sustained our journey.