Twenty years ago, Mountain Xpress launched

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In the Aug. 27 issue, we looked back at Mountain Xpress in the ’90s — the paper’s first years. Who produced it? Why did they do it? What difference did it make?

For answers, we turned both to former staffers and to civic activists.

In the weeks to come, we’ll continue to look at the ’90s, but change the focus and examine Asheville’s monumental and even miraculous evolution during the past 20 years — once again, told by the players and people who helped bring about those changes.

Asheville’s metamorphosis is a big story, with many people contributing to it. Letting them tell their stories will likely take more than two weeks. And that’s without any ensuing discussions. So stay tuned for more coverage, online and in print, over the coming weeks, and if you’re moved, tell us what you think. — Jeff Fobes, publisher

Congratulations, Xpress, by Russ Martin

Dear Jeff, by Lou Bissette

Challenging the Status Quo, Cleaning Up Local Government, by Steve Rasmussen

We Lost Green Line, But We Gained Xpress, by Monroe Gilmour

Twenty Years Before the Masthead, by Peter Gregutt

Chasing Crack Rabbits, by Cecil Bothwell

Tapping into the Local Debate, by Margaret Williams

An Xpress Roll Call, by James Fisher

Cheap rents, open mics and writing lessons, by Tom Kerr

Pre-millenial Asheville: No Renovation Required, by Melanie McGee Bianchi

It Must Be a Coincident, by David Cohen

How Citizen-Based Reporting Got the News, by Wayne Stanko

The Julian Price-Xpress Connection, by Meg MacLeod

A Journalist’s Rite of Passage, by Calvin Allen

Xpress Made the Community’s Housing a Priority, by Beth Maczka

Covering local government, one meeting at a time, by Margaret Williams

The Day Hazel Fobes Showed Me Up, by Michael Plemmons

On Wednesdays, Everyone was Reading It, by Susan Roderick

Heady and Hard to Typify: Asheville Clubs & Music in the ’90s, by Alli Marshall

Xpress Made Me (and a Lot of Others) A Writer, by Tom Kerr

Corporate Experience But with a New Flair, by Wanda Edney

We Faced Strong Resistance from Mainstream Advertisers, by Robert Feirstein

How Green Line Put Me on my Career Path, by Daneille Droitsch

Twenty Years, Day In and Day Out, by Patty Levesque

We Were Dirt Poor, But We Had a Wealth of Pride, by Bob Rufa

 

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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism.

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