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The People's PaperThe Ashland Beacon Celebrates 13 Years of Positive News

The People's Paper

The Ashland Beacon Celebrates

13 Years of Positive News

Sasha Bush

The Ashland Beacon


In an age where headlines often emphasize conflict and controversy, one local newspaper stands apart as a beacon of positivity and celebration. For 13 years, the Greater Ashland Beacon has been fighting the status quo and has continually given its readers a steady flow of feel-good content that often leaves its readers inspired. This unique newspaper has carved a niche for itself by dedicating its pages exclusively to stories that uplift and inspire while also shining a spotlight on the remarkable talent within the community.

   Amidst the tumultuous seas of uncertainty, four unlikely individuals- Philip and Lora Stewart, Jason Smith, and Kimberly Smith, embarked on a journey that would change their lives forever. They weren't seasoned journalists; in fact, some might have even labeled them as crazy for daring to enter such a competitive arena with little more than passion and a determination to succeed.

   Founding co-owner Jason Smith recalled, “When we started the Ashland Beacon 13 years ago, none of us knew much about running a newspaper. I was a computer guy, primarily interested in trading ads with the Ashland Beacon, which at the time was owned by someone else. We contacted the owner about exchanging ads between her publication and a website that we currently owned, The Tri-State Music.”

   Just a few short months later, Philip received a call from the owner of the Ashland Beacon requesting a meeting. Jason explained, “Little did we know this would be a meeting that would alter the course of our lives. It was during this meeting that the owner asked Philip if we would be interested in taking over the Ashland Beacon. That was how our journey began.”

   With nothing but a shoestring budget and a shared belief in the power of storytelling, they dove headfirst into the world of publishing, armed with little more than a printer and a dream. What they lacked in experience, they made up for in sheer grit and determination. They quickly went to work learning everything they could about the ins and outs of running a newspaper. Lora explained that they weren’t quite sure how to go about running a newspaper, but they didn’t let that stop them from pushing forward. “I believe this is one of the things that still to this day sets us apart from other newspapers. Through hard work and determination, we figured it out and made it happen.” Philip Stewart, owner, Publisher and President, explained.

   Their first paper came out June 29, 2011 and was only 12 pages. “The Beacon has come so far since that first paper. We have learned so much these past 13 years and made so many amazing friends throughout the community,” noted Lora Stewart, Owner, Photographer, and Sports Editor of the Beacon.

   Together they pounded the pavement, forging connections within their community, and earning the trust of their readers through authentic storytelling that resonated on a personal level… storytelling that left a positive impact on those that turned the pages. Slowly but surely, their newspaper began to gain traction, attracting a loyal following drawn to its refreshing blend of local news, human interest stories, and community-driven content with a positive spin.

   Unlike traditional newspapers that may focus on the all too often depressing aspects of life, this publication is committed to showcasing the bright side of life. From heartwarming human-interest stories to tales of resilience and achievement, every article in The Greater Ashland Beacon is a testament to the power of positivity. Reflecting on their journey, Philip Stewart shared, “When we started The Greater Ashland Beacon 13 years ago, we were driven by a desire to showcase the good in our community and bring more positivity to the area. We wanted to offer readers a refreshing alternative to the often-negative news cycle.”

   Readers of the Greater Ashland Beacon have come to rely on its pages for stories that inspire, inform, and unite. From profiles of local heroes to coverage of community events and local youth and high school sports… every issue is a testament to the richness and vibrancy of Ashland's spirit. One of the newspaper's defining features is its dedicated coverage of youth and high school sports. Recognizing the importance of athletics in shaping young lives and fostering community spirit, the Greater Ashland Beacon devotes significant attention to local sports teams and athletes. “The Ashland Beacon is amazing! I always enjoy the sports photos and articles. There is never any bad news and it's always so uplifting,” explained Holly Billups, a longtime reader of the paper.

   Whether it's a thrilling victory, a personal triumph, or a team's journey to success, readers can count on the Greater Ashland Beacon to capture these moments with enthusiasm and pride. Philip shared, "Our commitment to covering youth and high school sports goes beyond just reporting scores. It's about highlighting the hard work and dedication of young athletes, and the support they receive from coaches, families, and fans.” Lora agreed, “When we started this newspaper, we wanted to create something that would celebrate our community and bring people together, Sports, especially at the youth and high school levels, embody so much of what is good about our town—the dedication, teamwork, and determination. These stories inspire our readers and showcase the incredible talent that exists right here in Ashland."

   What started out as nothing more than a pipe dream 13 years ago has flourished into a thriving small business that transcends far beyond the boundaries of the local community. With a dedicated team of writers, photographers, layout artists, salespeople, and editors, the Greater Ashland Beacon has continued to climb higher with each passing year earning numerous accolades along the way. This past January brought with it one of the Beacon’s most cherished awards… winning first place for Best Weekly Newspaper in the state of Kentucky at the Kentucky Press Association’s Annual Convention. Owner and Chief Layout Artist, Kimberly Smith, shared, “Winning that particular KPA was an exhilarating moment in time. We've worked so hard over the last 13 years to create something that ourselves, our community, and our peers would be proud of. So, when we found out that we had won the first-place award for Best Weekly Newspaper in the State of Kentucky… well that just made all the long nights and hard work throughout the years worth it!”

   As the Greater Ashland Beacon continues to thrive as one of the few newspapers of its kind, it remains dedicated to its mission of spreading positivity and celebrating local talent. Through their commitment to uplifting journalism, Philip and Lora Stewart, Jason Smith, and Kimberly Smith have not only created a valuable resource for their community, but also a source of pride and inspiration for generations to come. “When we started this paper, we never imagined it would be where it is today. We wouldn’t be where we are today without our devoted readers, advertisers, and our amazingly talented team members. The Ashland Beacon isn’t just our paper… it’s the people’s paper!” declared Lora. Here's to the Greater Ashland Beacon, where every story shines a light on the amazing spirit and talent within our community.

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