Wingate University saves town’s newspaper

Wingate University is going into the newspaper business.

It is the new publisher of the Home News, a weekly that has served Wingate and Marshville since 1892. Students in the university’s communications department, which has an enrollment of about 100, will produce the community newspaper as part of their studies.

It is an unusual arrangement in the Carolinas, but nationally a few colleges produce local newspapers as laboratories for journalism students – the University of Missouri publishes the daily Columbia Missourian and the University of Arizona publishes the historic Tombstone Epitaph.

“We look forward to continuing the newspaper’s tradition of service to the community,” Wingate President Jerry McGee said Wednesday.

After John Edmondson, the Home News’ current publisher, announced last month he was going to discontinue the 1,600-circulation paper, the college offered to take it over, said Jeff Atkinson, the college’s director of marketing and communications. Edmondson, 68, gave it to the college as a gift.

“I felt as though when the university came knocking it would be the right thing,” said Edmondson, who took over the Home News in 1997. “They have a heritage of commitment to the community, and I thought it would be a great partnership.”