Awards and honors certainly are indicators of a job well done, but when it’s your local newspaper earning the awards, it’s something more: It’s an indication of the strength of a type of community partnership that extends back to the roots of our nation, to April 24, 1704.

Most sources agree that it was on that date when America’s first continuously-published newspaper, the Boston News-Letter, published its first issue. Interestingly for North Carolina history buffs, one of the most sensational stories published in that newspaper would later turn out to be an account of Blackbeard’s death in hand-to-hand combat.

But more interesting for all of us is the spark that that newspaper ignited in the colonies — a spark that today fans the flames of community journalism and a partnership between readers and journalists, consumers and advertisers.

It’s that partnership that was awarded March 21 in Raleigh as the Watauga Democrat was honored with 21 North Carolina Press Association awards — including awards of general excellence for both its print and online versions — in both the editorial and advertising divisions.

We at the Watauga Democrat are proud to be part of such a partnership. To us, those honors mean more than a job well done. They mean that we have your support and, more importantly, your trust. That is not something we take for granted. It is something that we strive to nurture and protect every day.

And so, we thank you, Watauga County, for your support. The awards we have earned truly belong to our community and the partnership we build upon daily.

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