Xpress announces changes for 2021

Dear readers,

Thanks to your continued readership, plus the support of local businesses and contributions from community members, Mountain Xpress came through 2020 successfully — even with some panache.

As 2021 dawns, we need to adjust our operations in anticipation of what’s shaping up to be another challenging year. Our focus and commitment must be on positioning Mountain Xpress to continue serving the Western North Carolina community and preserving our ability to rebound when business conditions ease.

Inside our offices, we’ve announced several changes, which we want to share with the broader community. In the coming weeks, you will see the following shifts:

  • Our papers will be smaller through the winter.
  • We will stop publishing movie reviews for the foreseeable future. When space is available in our print editions, we will direct readers to AshevilleMovies.com, where local reviewers Edwin Arnaudin and Bruce Steele will continue to share insights on the latest releases and happenings.  
  • Our Asheville Archives history feature will likewise go on hiatus.
  • Our Food and Arts & Entertainment sections will be combined under the name Arts & Culture. Thomas Calder will lead that new section as its editor.
  • We have had to say a fond farewell to Laura Hackett, membership and development coordinator, with much appreciation for her innovative work establishing Xpress’ reader support program and daily email newsletter.

While these changes are undeniably wrenching, we want to stress that they are made with the objective of ensuring Mountain Xpress’ ability to continue its contributions to the vitality and success of this community. 


Jeff Fobes
Founder and publisher


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 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. Follow me @fobes

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Xpress announces changes for 2021

  1. Media Watcher

    Have you considered a subscription model for online edition? Readers of other papers have gotten used to paying.
    Do you have any data on how your online reader numbers compare to those actually picked up and read in print?
    Have you considered going all-digital?

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