The Ashland Beacon
With this issue, The Greater Ashland Beacon is celebrating the end of its seventh year under the ownership of Philip and Lora Stewart and Jason and Kimberly Smith, and the beginning of an eighth year of producing the weekly newsmagazine.
“What I am most proud of are the people who have been around us for the last seven years,” said Philip Stewart. “With the right people - look what you can accomplish.”
He pointed to the recognition the newspaper received at the annual Kentucky Press Association’s Excellence in Newspapers Awards Ceremony, held in Lexington this January. The Greater Ashland Beacon received a second place General Excellence in the category of weekly newspapers, along with nine additional awards across a variety of categories including sweeping the “Best Sports” photography category and capturing top two awards for “Sports Photo Essays” and top honors in the “Special Sports Section.” It was the first year the newspaper had entered the KPA’s annual competition.
“We never expected that. We knew we won a few, but to come away with second place General Excellence floored me. I didn’t sleep for three days afterward. I wanted to tell everybody. It wasn’t what I did, it was all the writers, photographers, layout people did. I’m just fortunate enough to have a bunch of great people around us to work with,” he added.
The newspaper has continued to grow each year, he said, adding he expects it will continue to grow. He said there is a misconception that newspapers are “dying.” The “Free-kin Beacon,” however, is thriving because of its focus on hyper-local news and events, along with its local columnists and creative content including the “Tell Me a Bedtime Story,” which features original children stories written by Ashland Community and Technical College English and writing instructor Jon Joy.
There will be even more reason for the community to turn to The Beacon for news and entertainment in the coming week. “We will roll out a new, expanded website with breaking news and launch our GAB Channel, a web-based streaming video news and entertainment channel, along with an updated app,” he explained.
“We’ve always been more than just a newspaper. We are so in to our community through activities that we get involved in -we try to be a part of everything that happens in our community because this is where we live, and these are the people who are paying our bills,” he said.
“We want to give back because we do appreciate everything people have done for us, from our advertisers to our contract writers and photographers. We’re not doing this to get rich but we’re having the time of our life seeing everyone and being involved in the community,” he added.