Made in Tennessee: The McKenzie Banner
McKenzie, TN. (WNBJ)-
Today we are kicking off our Made in Tennessee Newspaper Tour to highlight the hard-work and dedication of our local newspapers. Our first stop is in a small town an hour outside of Jackson, in McKenzie, TN.
Their local newspaper, the McKenzie Banner has been operating since 1870. One year after the founding of the City of McKenzie, and 5 years after the end of the Civil War. The McKenzie Banner has experienced several owners and name changes throughout the years. But in 1948, a young man by the name of James Washburn would climb the ranks from a printer staffer to owner. Joel Washburn (McKenzie Banner Publisher) stated, “my family became involved when my dad got out of World War II. He served in Japan, and in 1948 he came here as a printer staffer. Meaning he worked in the print shop.”
James Washburn brought his wife and sons into the business, now the McKenzie Banner has now been part of the Washburn family for three generations. Joel Washburn says he hopes his grandchildren will continue the family business. Joel Washburn (McKenzie Banner Publisher) explained, “I hope that my grandson and granddaughter get to be a part of a journalism team that gets to cover news and photograph. And continues the news industry in our local area.”
The McKenzie Banner is known in their community for how they personalize stories. From, local elections, weddings, birthday, and school sporting events. Brittany Martin (McKenzie Banner Graphic Designer) stated, “it’s nice to be a part of something like that even if you are just kind of in a distance telling the story. It’s really special.”
City of McKenzie Mayor Julian Holland was raised in McKenzie; tn. Mayor Holland explains why her, and her family are loyal subscribers to the McKenzie Banner. Julian Holland (City of McKenzie Mayor) informed us, “we’ve got scrapbook after scrapbook of different events. Memorializing our lives, the lives of our friends and people that we knew. All those pictures and articles are of course from the McKenzie Banner.”
In recent years the way people receive news has changed, and the McKenzie Banner is dedicated to changing with the times. Joel Washburn (McKenzie Banner Publisher) stated, “most people think of us as just print, but we’ve been online for more than 20 years. Providing news online. People from around the world can access the newspaper and they do.”
While changing with the times the newspaper has been consistent with providing quality news stories for their community.