The Daily Dispatch is a community-oriented newspaper in Henderson, N.C., serving the tri-county area of Vance, Granville and Warren. It is published daily except Mondays and Christmas Day.
Back-to-back winners in 2006 and 2007 of the North Carolina Press Association's General Excellence Awards for newspapers with 15,000 subscribers and less in the Tar Heel State, the Dispatch was established as a daily newspaper on Aug. 12, 1914.
President and Editor P.T. Way started the publication as a four-page, 16-column daily version of his semi-weekly Henderson Gold Leaf on that date when World War I brought the need for up-to-date news of events abroad.
The newspaper took the name of the Henderson Daily Dispatch in 1915 when Henry A. Dennis joined the staff as the paper's news editor. The Gold Leaf reverted to a weekly edition that year and stopped publication following a fire in December 1946 at the newspaper office.
The Dispatch bounced back from the fire and operated in a temporary headquarters until its office was rebuilt in 1947. Ten years later, the company moved to a new plant and its current location at 304 S. Chestnut Street in Henderson. It printed its first edition on a new 32-page rotary press on Monday, Dec. 2, 1957. In May 1973, the company changed from the old "hot type" process of using molten lead to "cold type" printing, which relied on a typesetter. In October 1980, the Dispatch installed a front-end system that handled all copy electronically, making typewriters almost obsolete. That system was replaced by a more modern system, using a pagination process, in 1990.
Dennis and his descendants managed the newspaper into the 1990s. Henry A. Dennis, M.L. Finch and S.A. Jones bought all of the company's stock upon Way's death in 1922. Dennis served as president and editor, while Finch served as business manager and secretary-treasurer until his death in 1973. Dennis died in 1979, leaving his family as sole stockholders and his son, William B. Dennis as editor until his own retirement in March 1994.
The newspaper was sold to Paducah Newspapers Inc. in February 1994, and Rick Bean began a 10-year tenure as the publisher of the newspaper. He took the newspaper from an afternoon daily being published on Monday through Saturday to a morning edition with delivery on Tuesday through Sunday. The newspaper also changed its name to The Daily Dispatch and later launched the newspaper's website, www.hendersondispatch.com. Bean is currently the group publisher for Paxton Media Group in North Carolina and the publisher of The Herald Sun in Durham.
William B. Dennis's son, William A. Dennis, took over as editor following his father's retirement. Other editors have included James Dutra, Laverne Jefferies, Arthur Murray and Glenn Craven. The newspaper's current editor, Luke Horton, joined the Dispatch staff in December 2009.
James D. Edwards, who became publisher of the Dispatch when Bean moved to High Point in 2004, previously had served as managing editor in the 1980s.
The Dispatch works each day to provide the community we serve with the most complete, fair and accurate coverage of news, sports and features we can offer, to give members of the community a forum for voicing their opinions, and to offer the members of the business community and the public at large a most effective means for telling their neighbors about the products and services they offer through our advertising opportunities. By offering up a mirror to the local community and attempting to tell those stories so vital to us, The Daily Dispatch will continue to attempt to make the cities and the towns in our area better places to live.
In the words of Fred Paxton, the former publisher of Paxton's flagship newspaper, The Paducah Sun, our goal at The Daily Dispatch is to "First, be a great newspaper."