Top pick of 2018: An engaged, empowered community

The modern information economy grew ever more challenging in 2018. News flowed through social media platforms from an astonishing array of sources, often without context to show where the opinions or information originated. Amid the din, confidence in the objective truth of information read, seen and heard steadily declined. As revelations continued to emerge about unauthorized uses of personal data by Facebook and its ilk, the urge to turn off the laptop and disconnect from the world grew stronger.

And yet. Members of this community kept pulling the handle on Mountain Xpress’ purple boxes, kept visiting, kept commenting, kept writing letters to the editor and kept sending tips, suggestions, criticism and compliments. Xpress’ circulation has lately seen a modest but real increase, a heartening trend.

Your continued participation in this locally focused journalistic conversation — this project of growing and sustaining a healthy, vibrant community whose members speak up for the changes that matter to them — is the most important story of 2018 for Xpress. You stuck with us … and we stuck with you, because we believe that close attention to the news, issues and voices where we live is our best collective hope of making real and positive change in the world.

Xpress welcomes and seeks out diverse perspectives with the goal of representing the whole community, not just those with whom we agree or whose experiences we share. We respond personally to most inquiries and suggestions. And we remain committed to rigorous fact-checking, copy editing and obtaining comment from all sides. We think that’s why you continue to trust our reporting, even as the information environment beyond Western North Carolina grows ever more contentious.

Thank you for all you’ve done to support Xpress’ work this year and for your ongoing interest in nurturing an engaged, empowered community. We hope you’ll enjoy our picks of the stories, events, people and issues that defined 2018. As always, we’d love to hear what you’d add to or change about our lists.

— Virginia Daffron, managing editor




Green Scene

  • Conserving WNC’s natural treasures
  • Seven Asheville-area climate stories

Farm & Garden


Arts & Entertainment



Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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