For more than 100 years, The Welch News has covered local stories in McDowell County, West Virginia. It was back in 2018 when West Virginians found out that this community institution may shutter its doors forever, and then, in one of the greatest comeback stories that our state has witnessed in some time, just days later a local member of the newsroom said that she was stepping up to purchase the paper. Melissa Nester, better known as Missy, became The Welch News publisher.
Many stories have been told about the residents of McDowell County, and it would not be unfair to claim that the area may be one of the most mischaracterized communities in the state. National portrayals of the community often uphold he most harmful stereotypes of West Virginia and of residents who experience poverty. The prevalence of these kinds of stories makes a local news source, where residents are reflecting what is happening in the community in their own voices, even more critical.
The team at The Welch News centers the needs of the community in each decision they make with their small business. It is their love of the community, and the people in it, that keeps the team going, even though there are significant obstacles to overcome with producing a local newspaper. Their trusted relationship with the community proves how local media can play an important role as a guardian of local history, a community connector, and more.